I have a hard time with love.
I think it’s another trait of co-dependency that I use up so much of my self trying to figure out what other people want me to be. And then the rest of my self that’s leftover is too small and too depleted to figure out what I actually want to be myself. With love, that’s definitely been a common thread for me. I want so much to be the perfect person for every person that I love. I want so desperately to be, for someone, ideal. The one who meets all their needs. The one essential person. I’ve spent so much of my life feeling so irrelevant. I have a hard time trusting, when I have friends, that they really like me. I always think maybe, somehow, they like the person I am on the surface — confident, smart, warm, compassionate, a little bit goofy, a little bit shy — but would scorn me if they knew what I sometimes feel like inside — needy, hypersensitive, anxious, depressed, fucking damaged.
When I tell people I’ve been raped, I have this whole narrative I feel obliged to give. The “I was hurt but now I’m stronger for it” narrative. The “I’m not a victim” narrative. The “I will never let anyone ever hurt me that way again” narrative. Stoic, strong, whole. That narrative is a lie. I was raped when I was 15, and it fucking broke me. It shattered me into a hundred thousand pieces and I’m still trying to pick them up and glue them back together but when there are so many pieces it’s hard to put them back together right, like a massive jigsaw puzzle where you don’t even know what the full picture is supposed to look like. But I have to pretend that I do, I pretend that I was able to put myself back together long ago, and that while I’m scarred, the way one is after surgery, the wound itself is healed and the scar is just a proof of my strength and a proud symbol of my suffering. That’s the way I’m supposed to be. I’m not supposed to be here, eight years later, still fumbling around in the dark trying to find all the pieces of myself I’m still discovering I lost.
Put those two things together — the need to be the perfect one, and the scary truth that I’m not even a “one” at all, I’m a hundred thousand — and you get my deepest flaw. I can’t be vulnerable for people. I can’t tell people, here I am, I’m broken, but you can have all the pieces and maybe, just maybe, letting you have them will help me put them back together. It’s because I’m scared. What if they take one look at the pieces and run? What if they valiantly say, “it doesn’t matter, broken or not, I love you anyway,” but then it does matter? What if the brokenness becomes too much? Something broken can’t be perfect. If I can’t even figure out who I am, how am I supposed to be the right one for someone else?
I’m just now starting to be able to be flawed. I’m starting to figure out that I won’t ever really be able to love someone, or give her the chance to love me, if I don’t take the risk of handing her the pieces. If I try so hard to be perfect, eventually the illusion will come crashing down around both of us and it will hurt all the more. I used to think I could (and should) keep it up for my whole life. “It doesn’t matter who I am, because as long as I can convince people that I know, and as long as people love me, that’s all that matters. ” But that’s not true. People can’t really love me unless they know me. And how are they supposed to love me if I don’t respect myself, or them, enough to give them my real self?
I’m not sure really how to be really vulnerable, even for mi’lady. What I do know is I love her too much not to at least try. Because if I can’t tell her my deepest fears, my biggest flaws, my most profound insecurities, then I’ll never know whether she loves me despite them.
Love? Is fucking hard.