Vulnerable and Real

So, I’ve been an emotional mess.

I’m tired. This is the worst quarter of grad school and I’ve just been… emotional. I’m so tired. I haven’t slept as much or had much time for rest. I’ve been spending too much time alone. I’ve felt this deep neediness and insecurity and loneliness. My brain has not been nice.

We studied these attachment theories, which honestly I fucking hate. We read all of this stuff about kids who didn’t have stable caregivers and how they are fucked for life, how their brains wire poorly and they develop abnormal amygdalas. I just read all of this shit, and it’s all about people like me. They talked about children like me, who’s moms abandoned them and how we cannot form secure attachments and are permanently and irreversibly broken. They talked about kids who’s parents were neglectful, and absent and the children they raise who cannot regulate emotion and can’t form normal connections. And fuck, I hate that.  I hate it.

I hate the idea that someone would read this and think, “well that explains it. Poor fucked up girl. Of course she is this way.”

And then I’m reading this other stuff about how humans crave connection. We need trust and belonging. We are wired from birth to attach and connect and seek intimacy in all kinds of forms. We are balls of fear and longing with center cores of gushy love. We all want to be seen and heard.

brene-vulnerability
I remember the first man I loved. I was 16 and he was 30 and we met at a dance. He was from Venezuela and looked much younger. He was a passionate musician with this caramel accent and this razor sharp mind. He’d come to the U.S. to study biology and had read and studied widely. And I remember what it felt like that he became smitten with me. He asked a million questions about me. He wanted to talk to me so much we talked all night, all the time. We’d stay up all night swooning and boozy on love, fucking, kissing, laughing. He got a book on origami and folded creatures for me because he thought it would tickle me. I felt sexy and seen. He just.. saw me. He understood me. For a long time I loved him with this purity and trust. I didn’t even imagine there could be any reason not to trust him. This love was so pure and magical. All of the love songs were about us. I opened up more and more. We wrote each other poems and love notes, because we missed each other when we were at work. We’d draw each other sappy things on our lunch breaks.

I remember when I found the thing where he’d written about how he’d cheated on me for months when we’d first gotten together. When I thought we were delirious in love and growing this magical thing he’d been fucking this woman. It bothered me that he’d cheated, but it cut right to my center that he’d lied, that this had been a lie. I didn’t know if any of it was real. Had he meant the things he said to me? Did I imagine the whole thing?

It took about 10 years for me to get to that place with my ex. My ex was, at heart, dishonest. But I’d come to believe that he wasn’t lying about the important things. We’ve been apart 3 years and most of the sharp pain is gone, but the thing that lingers is this fear… older than this, older than him. What if I was wrong about the center of the thing? Did he ever love me at all?  Was it real?  Did anyone? Was it ever? These questions had finally gone silent and I’d believed, and I ended up being wrong. And so there it is again.

Holly.. Holly.. what can you believe?

There go my insecure attachments.

And I’m thinking more and more that maybe the answer isn’t in stifling who I actually am. Maybe it’s not wishing and hoping to be rational and reasonable and ever un-emotional. Maybe it’s accepting this wide heart. I’ve known for a long time that one of my better traits is my empathy. I get it and people know I get it. I’m genuine.I like that I want to see the best in people most of the time. My fears are that I’m wrong to see this greatness in people and to love them and trust them and build this thing with them, but I wouldn’t stop caring even if I could. So I’ve been trying to be vulnerable and okay with my own vulnerability. Maybe all that other stuff I read is true too. Instead of apologizing when I’ve been too emotional or too real I’m trying to say thank you. I read that somewhere too. Don’t apologize when you’ve been emotional and you’re embarrassed. Don’t apologize for being real and being human. Thank the person that was there with you.

So I thanked Traveler last night and this morning for sticking with me through all of this. We laughed and put together my cat tree and stayed up too late to watch the kitties play on it. We curled up together and kissed so deeply. I traced his handsome face with my fingertips and then my kisses and he told me I was worth it, and little bits of his dreams for us. And we just loved each other.

It’s a difficult semester and an emotional adjustment to my internship. I’m tired, and to be honest I’m still pretty sad. I just am. But isn’t it something to be loved when you are at your worst? Even better. What a thing, to get to love someone so lovely, even if they drive you crazy sometimes too.

brene-vulnerable

 

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