The fall is different each time. The first was fast and hard, a force of energy that you could only see the effects of once the dust had settled. The second was strong, with tendrils that wrapped around us and became hard to break, even when staying wrapped up together became suffocating. And now, as I fall once again, I feel myself bouncing against the walls that have built up around me; ones that weren’t there before.
Or perhaps scars might be the right word for them – the marks that my past heartaches have left in me; the insecurities that I feel surfacing in my new relationship, that have nothing to do with the person I’m dating, and everything to do with my own fear.
These insecurities, like something that rest deep inside you, quiet and dormant, only begin to surface when I start letting someone into my heart again.
They are small things, mostly, but I can see how if I chose to give them power, they would become monstrous. They are the petty voices in my mind that notice if he doesn’t text me back about something silly and whisper that he’s beginning to lose interest. Or the pang I feel when I hear his phone buzz and a part of me wonders if it could be someone else – a secret name, a secret someone. And I tell myself I’m crazy, but those small voices remind me that both things have happened before.
I can feel my urge to act on my insecurities. I can feel them bubble up inside of me. I can feel myself wanting to stir the pot, to create something out of nothing, to push him away before he pushes me aside. I can feel the urge to hide behind my walls, because it’s safe there. But as safe as it is, it’s also lonely.
So, in the early nights that we spend together, I tell him all this. I tell him about the lies and the ongoing deceit. I tell him about the other girl, and the unfair mind games that have lingered with me even now, so many years later. He assures me, earnestly, that he’s not that type of guy. He looks me straight in the eye, holding onto my hand, willing me to see the truth of his words and I want to go back to who I was all those years before, when I did trust so fully, right up until that trust mocked me.
On a different night, I tell him what it was like to watch someone I loved begin to give up. How painful it was to know that this person was falling out of love with me. The excruciating way I tried to change myself, to blame myself, to make myself prettier, thinner, smarter – all so I could hold onto someone halfway gone.
I want to explain it to him so that when it manifests itself in my actions, he can forgive me. In doing so I am able to see some of my own faults laid bare. I am able to see, now, how I’m not blameless in all that’s happened before. A relationship takes two. And if every action has an equal and opposite reaction, then I know my own actions have been part of the problem.
The blessing of growing up, getting older, is that you have the opportunity to reflect on all that has come before. If you choose to, you can notice how your past is showing up in your present. You can ask yourself if your current actions are based on the actuality of the moment, or if they’re based on your knowledge of the past or your fear of the future.
I can feel the damage that past heartbreaks have left. But I have started to identify it. I have started to see when those scars want to surface, or when the walls want to close in, and I can see that I don’t have to let them. I can see my own flaws, too. I can see where I once added to the destruction. And by seeing that, I can also see how much I’ve learned – how much better I am at being with someone now.
I’ve learned enough to know that I don’t need to give power to my insecurities. I don’t need to act on them. Now, I just work on noticing them. I notice as the insecurities flash into my mind, and then I let them flicker out. The less I feed the flame, the weaker it becomes.
Those voices that have formed from my past, those mean words of caution, I’m trying not to let them be loud. I hear them, I notice them, and then I look at what’s right in front of me – warm arms, a big smile, a kind soul.
So I guess I just have to trust. Trust that even though I’ve seen trust go awry in the past, trust is still a worthwhile cause.