It used to be that I couldn’t accept a compliment without a grimace. When people would point things out to me, I often responded with a grumble determined to undercut myself or deflect attention. When I was fourteen, I would force my first girlfriend to tell me she loved me a million times a day. I never asked her to directly, but there was something in the pain I carried so deep, the fear and insecurity that weighed heavy on my back, crippling and hunching me even in my happiest moments that let her know just how badly I needed it.
And, each and every one million times, I allowed myself to smile for thirty seconds before retreating back to the place in my heart where I was positive I didn’t deserve to happily allow myself to be loved. I was conscious of the space I took up in a room, aware of not overwhelming anyone by breathing, or thinking, or speaking.
The next time I was loved, I gave myself at least two minutes before running and hiding with my hands over my eyes and my fingers in my ears. I believed her when she said she loved me. I accepted her compliments. But I knew, I just knew, that in the end I would prove to be too much. And each time like the first, it was as if I directly manifested that doubt and overwhelming belief of not-being-enough, providing the perfect arena for each relationship to crash and burn under the weight of my ever-mounting insecurity. When I so unceasingly focused my attention on what could go wrong, my every waking moment imbued with fear about when it would happen, naturally the relationship, holding hands closely with my self-perception, proceeded directly downward in a spiral where nothing was enough and I was never felt completely happy or safe.
And so it goes, each relationship a little more secure than that which came before, each compliment returned with a smile dim at first but growing stronger. Happiness is a funny thing, because it feels like we are all looking for it all the time, high and low, consulting one another as to where it might be hidden. Yet then, presented with a situation in which we can be really happy, or fully accepted, or truly loved, all we can think about is the inevitable moment when the bottom drops out and we are left without.
I have been left without, and I have learned the hard way that you are always going to be too much for people when you choose partners that you didn’t have to work too hard for. Because it’s far more difficult to let yourself exist in a free fall experience with someone who may or may not be just perfect and who just wants to be around you and be happy, than those who are easy and hang around, not expecting much from you or not capable of fully being involved in your combined relationship.
It used to be that was kind of person that I naturally gravitated towards, unaware of my implicit part in the inevitable failure of my relationships. It used to be that these kind of relationships were enough for me, until they weren’t, and then it was enough to wallow and mourn the passing of relationships which, honestly, weren’t benefiting me from the get-go.
And now that I find myself near you, and afraid, possibly for the first time in my life, really afraid, I can realize that the fears before were me merely enacting my natural part in my own personal drama. And I’m learning to let you love me. And it’s hard, but so worth it. And on a daily basis, I have to laugh and remember my poor first girlfriend and just how much strain I put on our relationship with my constant insecurity. Now, when I feel the voice in my head beginning: I don’t understand, why do you love me? Will you love me forever? Are you SURE that you love me? How can you know? Etc. Etc. Etc. I just have to tell that voice to shut up, it’s not welcome any more, because my life is worth more to me now than playing a part in a pattern that repeats itself over and over again because I can’t pull it together enough to know that I deserve better. Because, now, I am so worth it. And so are you. xx.