"Why do you fear falling in love so much?

           My dear, it is not that I fear falling in love. I am in love with so many things in this world. I love animals, I love my family, I love my friends, I love sunsets, I love a lot of things. What I do fear, however, is falling so deeply in love with someone and investing my life into theirs only to discover that they do not feel the same about me. To me, that is how you die while still breathing and you can never recover from that no matter how hard you try. The scariest part about that is that you're never going to know if you're falling for the wrong person. That's what I'm afraid of."

    Love's always been something of a fascination and a conundrum for me.

    i spent about two years building a shell around myself, blocking out everything but the two relationships i had, developing ways to not care, not connect, not let anyone see into the clusterfuck my personal life had become. It was safer that way - people couldn't tell me i was too much, too painful, too raw or hurt or anything else if i didn't let more people in. They couldn't walk away from me. Just him. i came to believe every bad thing i was told, and parts of me still believe it. i had been so afraid for so long, and here were all the bad things my own depression and anxiety told me, confirmed out of someone else's mouth.

  i'm too crazy. Too emotional. Too much of a victim, pathetic, weak, erratic. i can't control my inner brat, and when i fail at control i get tossed to the side because it's too annoying. i can't even make a decision for myself. Everything that happened was all my fault. Every bad thing that does happen, from people telling me to leave them alone to me not being able to control my fears, is my fault. Always. i have no redeeming qualities.

   But the whole time, there's this love from the other relationship. Constant, strong, reminding me of the best qualities in myself. He tells me i'm never a burden, even when i'm having a breakdown or lose control of myself. He tells me i'm beautiful and whole and kind and compassionate and giving and worth every single minute of all of it. He trusts me completely, lets me make my own choices but expresses his concern, hopes i'll find a Dom one day who will be good for me, who will let me be good for them too.

  So which one's true? i invested my life in both their lives, so how did i get these mirror images, one the best of me and one the worst? The only thing left to do was crack the damn shell, especially once the relationship in which the worst of myself was always in front of his eyes was gone.

 Open myself up again. In a lot of ways i feel like i've regressed to when i was a teenager, before i had any kind of controls in place for letting people in or keeping myself at an emotional distance. i miss people. i actively want and even crave attention, but not just from anyone. Specific people only. Others i block out still, because i don't want to know them. A couple got space so deep in my heart i didn't see it coming, and i'm still not entirely sure how to handle that. i'm flailing still; i don't feel fragile or broken the way i did, but small things still hurt or heal so much. Phrases. Specific words. Being told to go away; being told i'm too much. Being told i'm good, a good girl.

i feel like i'm walking a tightrope, some days. Good on the surface, okay, put together, functional; underneath all i want is a pair of arms holding me down, someone who understands i need to let go and not be in charge, not be an adult, not have to think, just do what they want me to do. The big thing i'm not sure i'll ever find.

  So how do i find my way back to balance, without reconstructing that shell and assuming that no one except him cares or ever will, so i may as well kill what connections i have made and shut myself off again? i'm not sure, but i suspect the answer may be love. Being unafraid to love. Being unafraid to open myself up to other people and taking the risk that they may not recognize or want or appreciate who and what i am. Being honest and unapologetic and admitting that yes, i'm more than half in love with you and with you, in addition to him. And i'm okay with that, even if the feelings are one-sided and never returned. Hoping that if i do lose control, it will be met with understanding, because i have issues too. i can behave myself, i swear; it isn't always easy and i don't always see or catch myself in time, but i am trying. i'm not a fantasy, i'm a living breathing struggling every day person.

Balancing the urge to simply say "this is how i feel, please let's see if this will go anywhere, let's be brave enough" with the knowledge that i'm still healing and the uncertainty about whether i can actually handle anything other than a restricted friendship with anyone but my sole relationship at this point is an interesting walk. i'm still afraid of rebounding, afraid i'll put someone else through pain trying to heal myself; at the same time, there's this certainty in the back of my mind that only shows up once in a very long while, and i have not put enough trust in my instincts for too long. i want to trust that small, still certainty.

The most interesting part is that in spite of being petrified by so much, in spite of the depression and anxiety which lead to me assuming worst-case scenario instead of best, love is the one thing that has never scared me. When i love, when i let a person in, it isn't scary to love. The only scary thing is reactions, good or bad, and the consequences of interactions. And to me, love has always been worth the risk; always will be. Pain sucks; it's horrible and debilitating and overwhelming and breath-stealing, but love comforts and heals and forms new bonds and often brings out the best possible qualities we have. We take a risk any time we reach out to anyone, friend or lover or person we find ourselves falling in love with, and sometimes we're dropped, disappointed, hurt, crushed. Sometimes we fly.

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