How to survive your worst nightmare

I tried to sabotage it from the very beginning.

I’m too much.

I’m crazy.

I’m too emotional.

Don’t I sound like a winner?

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, I shouldn’t be telling you this.

Over and over I tried to convince him I wasn’t worth loving, that he should walk away now before my heart got involved. But he didn’t. He stayed. He ignored all of my silly reasons and insecurities and told me he was hard to push away. The first two months I wanted to let myself fall but I was still cautious. Terrified of losing this budding relationship. Terrified that he’d see who I really was and be out.

Counselor Kevin told me it was control issues. No surprise there, right?

I thought if I could be better, not as much, a little less, calmer, less sparkly, more controlled, he’d be willing to stay. After all, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you’re dating?

Unfortunately I’ve never been much good at that.

The enormity of who I am is something I can’t hide very well. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions on my face. I’m not saying it’s always right, I’m just saying it’s what I’ve done. But the more I got to know him, the safer I felt and the more I let my guard down. Until inevitably some fight or silence or weird comment would send me into a tizzy and I’d analyze and process and work through these things, trying not to lose him.

I was starting to fall in love and I thought, finally. I can’t lose this.

I made myself believe I was the one determining our fate.

My biggest fear was to lose this thing I had waited so long for. My biggest fear was losing him.

So when he walked away that night, when he shut the door to my room and my heart, when he said goodbye for the last time, the panic was overwhelming. I had lost the thing I had been so afraid to lose.

The days that followed were dark and fuzzy and lonely and full of tears. I honestly didn’t know I could cry that hard for that long. But as the world got a little bit clearer and my heart found its way to the sunshine, I tried to remember to be grateful to have known love and to have loved. It became my mantra: thank you for letting me know love, I don’t know what I need in this season but You do. Over and over I’d cry this simple prayer to my Papa.

And then I realized, I survived the thing I dreaded the most. I survived finding love, having love, and losing love.

I survived.

I think once you know you can face one of your deepest darkest fears and come out alive, it makes you less afraid of it next time. It makes me less afraid to walk forward into something new because I know what to expect, I know what may come, I know that it’s better to be fully loved and fully known than to try to shelter someone from the parts of me I’m afraid to expose.

It makes me hope that next time, fear won’t have me ticking like a time bomb, waiting to say “I told you so.”

Next time, I hope I can offer a whole heart.

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