Does real love exist?

Does real love actually exist? Like the kind that everyone is always waiting for. Or is this just a long wait in vain and a never ending string of filtering through people that for some reason or another start to annoy you or disappoint you or you realize you’re the fucked up one and you leave to head off the entire mess? But you don’t actually ever leave when you should, in the beginning, because the bandaid would hurt to rip off fresh so you have to wait until it gets dirty and is already peeling around at all the edges. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to stop filtering through people because being alone is scary and boring and sad. It’s sad. It feels sad. Instead I want to keep connecting with people and believing that they’re the one and that I’m going to be happy with this person and that they’re the answer to every question I’ve ever had about whether I’m good enough and deserving enough because they are actual living, physical proof, an embodiment of how good I am and how lovable I am and a guard against anyone who thinks anything otherwise. I am lovable. But that’s really a form of using someone and not actually loving them, isn’t it? That’s fucked up. That’s what I do. I am fucked up. The story I tell myself about myself is that I am fucked up. I am not good. I am bad. I am spoiled on the inside but my packaging is nicely designed and so it fools everyone into investing in me and then I’m really just rotten to the core and will make you sick.

But what are the facts? The facts are that I fall in love easily and that love feels tangible and whole and like life should be and safe and beautiful. The facts are that I connect deeply with others. The facts are that I fall in love with everyone I meet. The facts are that I have good intentions. The facts are that when I am with that person the feelings are real. The facts are that romantic relationships are the only sustainable way for me to receive as much attention and love as I need in order to feel connected and to survive without sucking everyone else in my life dry. The facts do not make ripping the fresh bandaid off any easier.

I believe I have become a person wholly incapable of commitment. I cannot bear to pin myself down to one person forever right now. I don’t want to because then I have to be disappointed by someone. Or more honoestly, because then I have to disappoint someone. I cannot cuddle anymore for fear of sex. I hate sex. I love sex in the beginning when I am in love and then I hate it when all the sparkle fades and it’s just two people’s wetness spilling out everywhere. I don’t want to have sex. But of course I do because admitting that I don’t want to have sex all of a sudden is shocking and scary and hurtful to my partners. They take it personally and think they are the faulty factor in the relationship, when really of course it is me. It is always me but people never assume it because the packaging is so delicate and beautiful and how could anything be ruined when I am so good and give so much to others?

Last night I dreamt that I birthed a child. I was swimming, at one point, in a pool of my own placenta and fluids and it was wet and disgusting and I had to get out. Then I remembered I had this child. It was clean and dry and warm and sexless. And I kissed its head but didn’t really want to hold it. My partner was some vague amalgamation of every person I’ve ever shared romance with and they left, angry, disappointed, the baby a burden to them, turning their back to me and bowing their head and strutting off to some corner of the world where I would never see them again. And alone I realized I had to tell everyone I had to give this child up for adoption. So embarrassed to disappoint everyone who I had told about the child that I actually didn’t love it after all and that I was going to have to give it away because I was leaving for school and school is my number one priority, I’ve been saying that all along, so obviously I can’t keep this child. It was sort of really someone else’s fault because I’ve always had these plans to leave for college and I made that very clear so it’s not really my fault. Please don’t hate me.

Then my shadowy partner returns, on his knees, crying. I am heartless to lump these people together, even subconsciously, every tender person who has ever given themself over to me, and here I am, leaving again, because I feel I have to. Because I cannot stay for this reason or that. I am tired of hurting people. It has become a responsibility, or perhaps it always was, just one I could never see or comprehend before, to abstain from hurting people. So I can’t commit. It has to be my responsibility. There is so much at stake. I am sorry for giving the baby away. It takes two people to care for this thing. But I can’t hold up my end of the bargain. I feel sad. I look for solace in other people’s approval of my actions.

Going Back

It’s a peculiar thing, self-sabotage. I think by this point I’ve become an expert in it, yet I’m still always surprised or upset once I’ve done something to get in the way of my goals. We do it to keep ourselves rooted in a way, I suppose. Moving forward requires change, and our brains would rather stay right where they are, surviving, even if our existence is flat. Taking chances is scary. I’ve  put off writing this blog for many months now. The vulnerability it takes to put my thoughts down for others to see scares me. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want others to see how messy I really am. But I also live in a reality where I feel frustrated by a lack of meaning and honesty in the world and I don’t see any other way around that belief than to open myself up and expose what’s really going on. So I sabotage. It’s the easiest and most unconscious way of making sure I don’t have to publish anything. I’m too anxious. I’m too fragile. I have to do this or I cannot do that. I make bad decisions that I can point to and say, “Look at this. Look at what you did. You ARE messy. You cannot share this with people.” And I struggle with being open. But here I am. Here is my chance to connect. To offer something genuine to a world where others want to appear infallible. No one is untouchable. Everyone struggles with something. It’s part of being human. It’s the beauty of our species: in it blooms compassion and empathy. It’s so easy to see this in others and forgive them for it, and so difficult to give ourselves space to struggle and accept our faults, and at times impossible to love ourselves despite. But no one else is going to love us enough or support us enough if we don’t do the work first. It seems like a simple truth, but it’s difficult to overcome the part of the brain that wants us to remain stagnant, safe. You have to argue with that voice in your head. You have to set goals and decide to do what it takes to meet them even when it means coming to a wall and seeing no way around it. You have to get uncomfortable.

Phase III

I don’t really understand how the healing process works. It’s so long and there’s so many parts and people involved. And emotions. It’s difficult to name or describe such a big thing. It happens in fragments. Pieces that take you off guard. And the next thing you know you’re on your knees weeping. Tonight was the first time in my life I have wept from joy and not sorrow. I recently decided to stop overdrinking. I’ve been avoiding it through my recovery from bulimia and then again throughout the spiritual process. But last week I gave it up. I saw my future self calling me from across a river bank, beckoning me to join her on the other side. She looked healthy. I suppose I trust myself now because I followed.

Today, on Saint Patrick’s Day, I left a party early after discretely pouring out my beer and headed to a park to watch the sunset by myself. I did a walking meditation. I breathed the fresh air and felt it on my skin, realizing that nature is what my soul has been calling for for so long. I missed my ex-boyfriend. I sat on a bench and watched the ducks diving under the pond. I was present, and then not. I got home and prepared a bath with oils and salts and visualized my old emotions and patterns of behavior as scabs, turning to dust and being carried off by the wind. A dew descended and covered my new skin, nourishing, healing.

I realized that I would, after this day, never be the same. There are some things you can’t undo. I had transformed. It brought me to my knees. I wept at this final shift. I felt it coming on for a few weeks now, this great letting go, a release of such sadness and destruction and safety. I wept at my strength and my beauty and my ability to hold myself, to care for myself, to love myself and protect myself, and I wept for the power of all the work I’ve never given up on for three years. Tonight was the time. The time to let go and move on. To release the fear around my power to control my life and who I want to be for others. The power I have to love each person I meet for who they are and expect nothing back. The power to love myself the same way. The power to feel discomfort arise and simply be.

Tonight I stood over a toilet, for the first time in my life embracing its cold porcelain to support the weight of my weeping body, not because I was purging or numbing out or fucked up or drunk, but because the totality of this healing work set upon me tonight and I had the strength of someone who has supported the world for so long that she couldn’t hold herself up while it all came out, releasing hormones in my tears, leaving my body once and for all. Tonight I wept because I am a woman of self-care, of love, of understanding of my faults, embracing my fuckups, my insecurities and missteps and misguided attempts at bettering myself and the world. I wept for the loss of who I was. I wept for the sanctity of what I have always pictured my life to be, realizing that, in that moment, my life had come to embody everything I had always wanted it to be, and accepting how long the journey of recovering truly is.

In the beginning, there was sadness

There is a sadness that underlies all things I do. It is my dominant emotion. Somewhere, maybe, there is a universe or a parallel where I am whole. I don’t want to be living my life overrun with emotional strife or conflict, yet here I am, embroiled in it once again. Living with mental health issues really is a battle. Each day is a fight. Whether it’s getting out of bed to face the world, to connect with myself, to fight off a panic attack, taking a look at my behavior, hovering over a toilet, deciding whether or not to overeat, taking responsibility for my actions, deciding to meditate, talking myself out of suicide (again) as an option, or reminding myself that I am still breathing and there is nothing really to be worrying about, there’s always a thing. And it’s exhausting. When I am spiritually connected, I don’t struggle as much. But ever since I started being honest with myself about how much I battle with suicidal ideation, I haven’t been able to return to my baseline level of sanity. It’s slowly driving me crazy. There’s always been a place in my brain that’s convinced someday I will do the worst, but a bigger part of me that knows that isn’t who I really am and it sure as hell isn’t my legacy. We all need to feel something. My something is relationships. They make me feel connected and needed and loved. So not being in one is hard. Difficult. Impossible. But here I am and here I will remain. Single and off to college to get my degree and along the way to try and be open about what it’s really like to struggle with mental health. Because it’s not pretty. It’s draining and sad and frustrating and no one wants to talk about that part of it. Of course I want to be normal. But maybe normal isn’t an option for some of us. Those of us that are just trying to stay alive. If you’re reading this, keep on fighting. I promise I will too.