I remember pretending to be different women while dating. I don't mean "sexy nurse" on Friday and "naughty school-girl" on Monday either. I pretended to be the girl who just wanted to fuck, and the girl who hated men. I pretended I didn't care about being in a relationship and only wanted to hustle. I once pretended to be the girl who thought she could casually have sex with a man, and wake up next to him in the morning without catching feelings or expecting anything in return - I could've won an Oscar for that one.
It was a grueling, heartbreaking journey, but I am now a woman who knows what I want AND acts accordingly. I also know what I don't want. What I can tolerate. What I mean when I say, "This". What I really mean when I say, "That". I know I'm a lover, no matter how much I want to be a runner. I still believe in the fairytale. I truly believe you can have it all. I know I'm enough. I know I want to be healthily obsessed over. I'm not needy. I have anxious attachment triggers, but react with secure attachment - and it drives me crazy. I know that if I don't ask for what I want, I'll never get it. I'm patient and understanding and I honor my boundaries. Most of all, I know that if anything bothers me I should say it regardless of what I think the reaction will be. Someone walking away is still better than me pretending I don't care what happens.
It took me nearly 40 years to not only get to know myself, but accept myself. Now, I'm currently working on trusting myself with this newfound knowledge.
Because I know that I still have a long way to go. I'm still neurotic. I still get impatient when I'm high on emotion. I know that I still struggle with "leaning in" and "enjoying the ride". I know that I will overthink. I know I'm not ready yet. I know exactly what I want and even though we all have room to grow and change, I will no longer date or stay for potential.
The truth is, I'm scared. I've been terrified for months now. At the mystery of it all, the intense feelings, the potential of falling in love. The traumas and triggers. The consistency and inconsistency. The changes. The talks. I'm scared of being right about getting left. I know how I can be and want to cut my losses. So now I'm torn. Do I see what happens at the risk of getting hurt after more time has been invested? Or do I cut my losses and leave now, but risk being ridiculously happy?
Falling in love is mesmerizing and agonizing and magical and terrible. It's bittersweet. Why is it like this? I suppose for the same reason why trees lose their flowers in the fall. It's like watching the purple and pinks of a sunset end in the horizon. It's seeing something beautiful come to an end - to have been grateful to experience it in the first place and have faith knowing that something just as - if not MORE beautiful will come along.
In "Between Two Kingdoms" by Suleika Jaouad, she writes:
You can't guarantee that people won't hurt or betray you - they will, be it a breakup or something as big and blinding as death. But evading heartbreak is how we miss our people, our purpose. I make a pact with myself and send it off into the desert: May I be awake enough to notice when love appears and bold enough to pursue it without knowing where it will lead.
Finally, I want to be the girl that moves with love - not fear. And sometimes we have to walk away because we love ourselves more than what we fear.