The great Dr. Lauren R. Sternfeld, BA (BA standing for Bad Ass) once said, “They must call them relationSHIPS because ships are built to navigate rough seas & dark storms, sail into beautiful sunsets, carry baggage & some times people, some sink & leave a wreck for others to discover, they can change direction at a moments notice, they harbor in retreat but can open their sails & set out on new discoveries and adventures. That’s probably why they are not called a relation-skiff.” (Sternfeld 2011)
The truth is, I can only identify with one part: “some sink & leave a wreck for others to discover”. I have never had a relationship that I put enough energy into to really understand what she is talking about. One, in college. And it was a good relationship, but I wouldn’t call it serious. We enjoyed each other’s company until we couldn’t anymore. But we never really worked at it. I don’t think either of us saw it as long term thus not worth really working at.
Love is like a crowbar to the back of the head. You aren’t expecting it and it hurts. I loved Isaa. Before that moment, I didn’t really know what love was. I thought I did. I had said it before. But I didn’t truly understand. I didn’t know! Not until I met Isaa. Then I fought the feeling for a long time, justifying it away. But my mind and heart had already chosen. That would have been the relationship to inform me of Lauren’s words.
But then he was just gone. In a few compact moments I learned the amazing power of love and the immobilizing and searing pain of death. And as much as I pretend I am strong. As much as I pretend I am okay. Isaa’s death broke me. And everything since has been the heel of a boot grinding the sand that was once me into the ground.
Sitting at a restaurant in Mexico with M.I.P., he turned and asked of me, “What are you running from?” I jokingly questioned why he thought I was running away. Can’t a girl just like adventure? Can’t a girl just enjoy the homelessness and loneliness of nomadism? Of course!!! And I honestly do in some respects. But I brushed him off. I didn’t want to think about my life since Isaa. It is easier to keep moving. I am always moving. It is in my nature and only amplified by my current state.
But the truth is, and I hope M.I.P. reads this, that I am scared. I am scared that people will like me, but when they start to delve deeper into my motivations for life… into who I am deep down… and all they will find are shattered pieces of a once strong woman. That they will run away as fast as they can. I’m afraid that people can’t deal with the cracks in the concrete that was me.
There is a quote I like to tell myself to keep myself strong: “We are all a little stronger in the broken places.” But it isn’t true! I feel as if I’m held together only by duct-tape.
And the reason I continue moving through my life like a comet is because I am stubborn. Because I refuse to let people see that I am broken. It isn’t strength. It is the fear of being found out… of being found broken… of being found wanting.
I am alone because I don’t know any other way to be. And as much as this post seems like a cry for help, it isn’t. I like being alone. I always have. That isn’t the part of me that is whimpering in a corner for somebody to notice while hoping that I am not actually seen. The whimpering part is the part of me that belongs with others.
Loss and fear have taken away my already limited social abilities to connect on a deep level. All that is left is my isolation and my cracks.
M.I.P., to answer your question… I WAS running from the broken parts of myself. I am still healing, but much better than I was. Only, I don’t know how to stop running! Or if I even can!
I don’t know how to stop running.
And I don’t expect people to stick around waiting for me to figure it out. So I don’t let them too close to begin with. To make it easier for them to leave and for me to keep moving.
Somewhere I heard, perhaps on a television show, that strength and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive. That it takes great strength to allow yourself to be vulnerable. But this post doesn’t make me feel strong. It goes against some deep seeded belief of mine that vulnerability is admitting that you can’t handle it on your own. That it is a failure.
But upon reflection, this is me being strong. Because it is one of my greatest fears: allowing myself to be vulnerable. It keeps people at a distance.
This is a cry for help. Maybe even a cry for love. And I am ashamed of it.