If I had a nickel for every time a boy I was seeing jokingly sang to me the song, “Hot and Cold” by Katy Perry, I would be able to buy myself a scoop of ice cream. And possibly a soda. I have told more than one guy that I didn’t want to commit to them even if I had been treating them like they were my boyfriend already, and even if I knew that they wanted something more. I have also turned down one marriage proposal in the past. In today’s modern dating world, we always see articles about men being emotionally unavailable and what to do when you happen to be dealing with one.
But what if you realize that you are the female version of those types?
My sister once was listening to the song “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. She said that the song reminded her of me. The song is about a woman who cannot love anybody wholeheartedly because she is too afraid to love. That made me really sad to hear that. But I did listen to the song afterward to bring me some sort of comfort that I wasn’t crazy and the only person who felt this way because the song perfectly described how I feel about loving a person.
“I never loved nobody fully Always one foot on the ground And by protecting my heart truly I got lost in the sounds And it breaks my heart.”
I have no idea how I got here. And being this way has actually cost me a lot of heartbreak. The moment I realize I am falling for someone, I push them back by tenfold. I push them so far back they end up resenting me and not wanting to do anything with me. Sadly, my relationships never worked because I always left. I’m halfway in and I am halfway out.
I can recall a conversation I had with my mom when I was maybe 7 years old. We were in a car and we were on our way home. She was having a conversation with my dad about people they both knew that had a complicated relationship. I remember chiming in and telling her that I would always be the first one to leave in relationships when I got older. You know what they say about self-fulfilling prophecies. “If you think that way, then you will never be with anyone,” my mom said to me after that.
I was not always this way. Once upon a time, I was very idealistic and loved the idea of love and thought that the greatest thing on earth was to love and be loved. But I think I have been treated way too many times like I was chopped liver that something inside me just switched off one day.
I dated this guy in high school and I don’t think I ever fully got over that emotional trauma. I was so blindly into him that I let him treat me in whatever way he wanted to. We hooked up one day after a few months of seeing each other, and the next thing I knew, it became sordid gossip that spread like wildfire. He obviously didn’t feel the same way I did. Even people I did not know were talking about it. I felt very violated, to say the least. Morally degraded. And I think this part of my life somehow played into my adult dating life. It became hard for me to trust people and let my guard down after that. But it actually had quite the opposite effect, surprisingly with how men treated me.
Although I still came across a few jerks along the way, they weren’t as detrimental and scarring to date. I was actually cared for, respected and actually pursued. I was wanted. I was loved. But I could never bring myself to love somebody wholeheartedly out of fear.
Because of this, there was a numbness I felt in my everyday life because I didn’t want to feel so much for people anymore. That’s the thing about me. I am a very passionate person that I feel like I have to temper it. And that’s basically what I have been doing since I have begun to learn the concept of feeling for people is to try not to feel for them.
I always hoped that someday I would allow myself to love without bounds.
And then one day, things change for you when you least expect it. I met a boy in the summer of 2013 when I was 22. And he loved me. He taught me how to love and be loved the right way. The way that I wanted to be loved. And now, I am not afraid to love back anymore. He taught me that love was love. And not some scary, mystical and painful thing. I will always have him to thank for that. I will always love him for loving me wholeheartedly.
I’ve learned that fear can be fought off with kindness and love. I also learned that you always need to choose someone who is deserving of you and to not allow yourself to be fed with romanticized garbage. You choose someone with actions and not mere words. You choose someone who wants you – all of you and not an idealized version of you.
My past may have been a colorful one, and not what you would describe to be idealistic, but it taught me to choose the best people in my life. Because of this, today, I live in love and full of peace, instead of numbing chaos. I am still trying to find myself in the process, but, I am not afraid to find what I am seeking – with my foot halfway off the ground this time.
Originally written by Luisa Benisano on Unwritten