being his safety net was somehow reassuring, the knowledge that he would be back to fall into me, a comfort. even though it was always temporary. loneliness does that. the yearning heart will accept the unacceptable when it means a moment without pain. a moment of forgetting he was not mine.
I am his hammock no more. can’t be. will not be. he may have chosen to settle, but that doesn’t mean I will. he must learn to live with his choices, as I have been forced to live with them, without any net to catch my falls. my love was not meant to be his getaway in the shade. while he was always my exception, I remained his excuse. but the gray was never my hue, so I have cut the net. for good.
“Full is not heavy as empty, not nearly my love, not nearly.” – Fiona Apple
the ache motivates us to seek comfort. but it also drives that antidote away, shortens its shelf life. emptiness is too cumbersome a void to fill by anyone except its host. because the ache, it is cloistered in fear. fear is empty. yet it is weighted with need, expectation, and dependence. fear is all at once wanting and incapable of love.
until i looked my fear in its hapless face, and saw how it sagged with emptiness, i could not receive love. I could not receive what i could not be. instead, i received who and what i was, and consummated my fear. for as long as i was empty, so i would be.
we attract what we are, and accept what we believe we deserve. like lint on a felt roller, all that was lacking in joy and love clinged to me. it jumped on and held on fiercely because i thought it was meant for me. it was not until i put down the burden of fear that i could see how weightless faith is by comparison. learning to believe i deserved and would find better led to faith that i would. accepting only what brought me joy began with giving it to myself.
my resignation to a future of solitude had become my armor. the metal, my skin. no shot could wound me, but no caress could comfort me, either. it was that touch, its gentle and loving current, for which i longed. silently. one was impossible without first surviving the other. you arrived bearing the chinks in your breastplate, yet the presumptions and pretenses were absent from your accoutrements. you relaxed your battle stance, and allowed me to peel off your armor. at the sound of the chain mail meeting the ground by our feet, my metallic skin was replaced by bare flesh. i knew i’d feel the comfort and security of your fingertips before they grazed my cheeks. i could abandon my fortress, and with you, come home.
All I’ve known of it has been ill-timed and single-sided. But they tell me Love is beautiful. They say it is a resource that is never depleted. Some people never experience the rush of blood to the skin, the hand that catches them when they fall. Some people hit the ground when they fall. And Love does not call their name. I do not want to be that person any longer. I will know Love one day. Someone will catch me when I fall. And it will be beautiful.
The gavel I use against myself would be better served against others. For too long, I’ve forgiven but not forgotten, allowing losers to cross the finish line. But I knew all along they did not deserve a medal. Yet I awarded them the prize of my patience and humility. All the time my cells clamored in my gut, telling me to question their integrity, that their merit was flawed. I reserved all judgment against their lies and shortcomings, but liberally banged the gavel at my own sentencing. Now I am aware, as the price of gold continues its climb, that my medals are worth as much as my name. So I will scrutinize their every foot fall, challenge every questionable turn, because I am worthy of the race.
You cannot find it on a map. There are no discounts, nor are there shortcuts. The highways and wrong turns I take may be the direct path for someone else. And even if we find each other along the way, we were meant to travel different paths. Because love is a journey. One we cannot help but make.