I used to tell a lot of half-lies. Not on purpose. I just didn’t know how to be honest about myself. About what I needed or what felt was right. I didn’t enjoy admitting certain truths, and it’s only been recently that I’ve realized that these half-lies add up and become more than walls between myself and others. They become walls between myself and myself. I used to think it was polite or better to try and make someone happy instead of speaking out against a behavior I didn’t love. I thought for many years that going to sleep with heavy-heated anxiety was normal.
The thing I didn’t realize about the parts of myself I hid from the world was that they ended up owning me. They end up owning all of us. We define ourselves by the things we don’t say.
I finally realized what it truly means to feel safe in defenselessness. When you empty your heart of fears and the feelings you don’t want to feel, there’ s nothing to protect yourself from. When you have nothing to hide, nothing can be used against you. When you’re no longer owned by your own secrets and hidden parts, you’re finally free from them.
I used to spend a lot of time hiding myself. I tried to be someone I wasn’t. I chased after things without asking myself why I wanted them. I was living on autopilot. But I decided that I can no longer be owned by the things I’ve hidden. I decided to face the world with empty-heartedness because it’s the only way to know if I’m being real. We can’t hold onto people who don’t know the truth about us. All we’re doing when we hide ourselves from the people we love is providing a false sense of security. A false sense of hope that if we become who we think we should be, we’ll be able to get what we truly want.
I had it backwards.
It’s when we become empty-hearted that we attract the things that are meant to be there. The people who are meant to be there. Because the truth about life is that you actually can manipulate people into loving you. But that’s not the kind of life you want. Trust me.I’m just now learning to bring forward the real parts of me. The hard work and changes that lift me up in ways I never knew I was down. I’m just now learning to appreciate the relationships I never expected, but fit my true self perfectly. I’m no longer hiding from the experiences that make me more me. Because I know that this is when it gets good.
1. Don’t ask me about commitment. I’m always looking for something that means something.I value things for what they are, and I know better than to constantly want more. This doesn’t mean I don’t want marriage or something like it one day, I just know that most people don’t think love can be genuine, real or life-changing unless it’s forever. But I know better. I’ve learned.
2. I’ve been through a lot. Suffering has made me tender and empathetic and open and wise and aware, but it’s also what makes me guarded and sensitive. I’ve been heartbroken. Big deal. It actually was. Don’t belittle my sensitivities and I promise not to use you as a punching bag.
3. I consider communication the deepest form of intimacy. I’ll talk for hours, about everything, about anything, about nothing. I base how healthy my relationships are on how honest I can be, and how often I can be it.
4. I act tough, but really more than anything else, I want to be taken care of. I want to be taken care of because I will always enjoy taking care of you. Just being kind and thoughtful means more than anything to me. Know that I’ve been loved before; so hard I thought my bones might break, and that’s not what I need from you. I’m not about grand gestures of love as much as small expressions of interest.
5. Don’t belittle my dreams and plans because you consider me too young for them. Don’t belittle my dreams and plans for any reason. It means you’re only acknowledging who I am on the surface, how many years I’ve had as opposed to what I’ve done with them, measuring me by how many days have passed as opposed to how much I’ve grown from them.
6. I used to think there were people who needed to be alone regularly, and people who didn’t. I was wrong. We all need to be alone regularly. I may not take my solitude as seriously as the self-proclaimed loner, but I’m human. And I’ve learned the importance of a recouping period. I learned the importance of gathering my thoughts. Of rolling around in an empty bed. I learned that missing someone doesn’t have to be sad, that it can be fun. I will miss you often. Know that I’m enjoying it.
7. I’m a homebody. And I don’t mean I enjoy taking my pants off and cuddling when it’s ugly out. I’m a real life homebody. A comfort-seeker. Some days will be rough. I won’t want to move. But I will, eventually. It will look like depression or laziness or just absolute weirdness. But it’s me. Just remember that I’m not helpless. I like routine. I like safety.
8. Don’t confuse my passion for comfort and routine with a lack of adventure. I crave stability. I will travel the world with you on little to no notice, but I need a comfortable home to return to.
9. I’m hyper-aware. I’m analytical and philosophical by nature. I’m prone to over-thinking. I know it’s unflattering and unnecessary, but it’s who I am. Reminding me of this won’t make me any less of it. It will make me feel less liked by you. Don’t do it.
10. I’m currently in a place where the words “you make me happy” say more than “I love you”. I’ve learned to appreciate myself. I know that I’m not difficult to love. In knowing this, I’ve realized that some of the people who have loved me were never happy with me. They wanted to love me, and in return, be loved back. I will not live to please you - but know that it’s what I hope to do. I have no interest in collecting lovers and admirers. Stick around because I make you happy, not because loving me might be worthwhile. Because love without extreme happiness is never worthwhile.