Hey darling, do you gamble?

I want to fall freely, openly, joyously into the arms of love. Give myself over naively and vulnerably. My heart aches with the desire to let go. Instead I try taking a step down first before leaping, like dipping a warm toe into the lapping, salty water’s edge to test it out before running, screaming into the cold ocean’s embrace. But now I’m just standing here, clinging to the rocks, my dirty fingers bleeding and strained, trying to pull myself back up. How do you do it?  How do you fall, without fear of repercussion? How do you trust, that everything will be okay?

My heart has been grossly mistreated. I do not say this for sympathy, I simply say it to get it out there and out of the way. I have a type. We all do. Only there are no specific physical features that tie my past loves together, but rather a common thread. I have pretty much always dated my father. Freud, you bastard. I’ve dated men who have great potential but squander it. I’ve dated addicts, liars, cheaters. Men that I’m not looking to fix but who are still looking for help. I’d like to think that on a case to case basis they have all been different, but still my folders fill up and now I’ve got a whole library of mistrust in my possession. Piles of pain with pages overflowing, spilling out. Literature laced with bad judgement. It has become too chaotic in here to organize my thoughts. Where did I leave my trust in this mess? I always misplace it, so hard to find amongst the clutter. Time to just burn the place down. Got a match?

I was told once that the weak often gravitate to the strong and perhaps that is why the people I date always seem to find me, my strength a beaming light they want to get close to in the darkness. Or perhaps I seek them out? Looking to be the one person who gave them a chance, believed in them. Believed they could be better. Believed they could be different from those in the past. Believed maybe, just maybe this time I would be more important then their addiction. But believe you me, you will never be more important than someone else’s addiction. Learn it now, you’ll thank me later. It has taken me years to understand that it has nothing to do with me and that I will never come out on top. I have never been more important than my father’s addictions, nor any of my partners. I am no ones cure.

I have spent the last year of my life alone and single. Actually, really, for real single. Not the kind of single I use to be, by which I mean, when there was still someone always around on the back burner. When I was still on constant watch, attentively scanning bars, bus stops and passing butts for my next potential make-out partner. This last year I have purposefully avoided gazes, advances and wayward lips. Sure, I went on a couple dates, all with men from out of town. As if the physical space that would come between us made it that much easier to keep them emotionally distanced from me. When they left I was alone again. I didn’t have to worry about my heart. I could have fun and still stay securely  tucked away. The more miles between us, the safer I was.

This last year has been a lot of self reflection and damage control. Giving myself time to understand these patterns and relearning how to be, well, just me. Relearning that I am worth more than what I have ended up with. Relearning that I am not just half of a whole but rather the whole damn thing and that I have no less value alone then when I am with someone. Relearning to trust myself even if I’m not sure I’m ready to trust others. It’s really hard to learn to trust yourself again after making so many poor choices, to forgive yourself for painful mistakes. It’s hard to trust being with just yourself, trust knowing that you are really truly enough. That in the end if I’ve only got myself it’s really not that bad because, hey, I’m a pretty okay person.

But what happens if you meet someone who makes you want to share part of yourself again? What if you’ve met someone who lives three blocks away, not three or three hundred miles? Someone you can’t and don’t want to just keep at a distance. Someone who makes you want to take a chance, lay all your cards on the table, go all in. Hey darling, do you gamble? I am terrified, the odds are never in my favour. I feel broken and damaged and weary. It seems to come so naturally for him to care about me, he does it with such an effortless and honest ease that it’s almost more unnerving. Unlike myself, stuck awkwardly trying to fumble my way over the walls and barricades I have set up to keep myself safe, internally fighting some epic battle because every cell in my body opposes this new found desire of my heart. And while he is patient and genuine and lacking the same baggage of those in my past, my fears and apprehensions are here with me like a burdensome carry on. I wish I could just jump. Let go. Leave them be. Fall free.