Six Reasons Why I Need to Believe In Love
Six. Six red streaks that stung in a dull, pathetic way. What was I doing? I thought I was done dealing with my emotions in this way. Why did this silly habit I developed in middle school follow me into adulthood? Why couldn’t I just open up to people the way I could open up my skin?
It was the most cuts I’ve given myself in one sitting. I didn’t bother thinking of a cover story in the moment; they were easily concealable and the only person at risk of seeing them would be Isaac…and he wouldn’t see them if I played my cards right. Like slipping on an old shoe, my secretive tendencies fit right back into place as if they never left. The only person that knew I was cutting was Charles.
I hadn’t spoken to him except for a handful of texts for an entire year. But I knew that he, of all people, would understand the most and judge me the least. He was frank with me, “Let’s face it, _____. If [Fred] cheated on you, it’s your fault. If global warming melts the ice caps, it’s your fault. If everyone in the world dies from nuclear attack, it’s your fault. Everything is your fault.” I laughed, “How the fuck do you know me so well?” He was right. I blame myself for everything, tell myself that I’m weak for giving into sadness, and unleash anger at myself for letting my emotions show. Instead of addressing my emotions, and letting myself feel them, I tell myself that I shouldn’t have them. And all if does is make them worse. “It’s a stupid, fucked-up cycle,” I told Charles. “And I hate that I keep falling into it.”
We talked on the phone for four hours. While we did touch on my recent set-backs, we also talked about his life, about future goals, about people we went to high school with and all the old memories we shared. Suddenly I was 17, back in high school, and walking through the woods with him all over again. And I remembered why I fell in love with him.
I wish we could be friends. He’s the only ex I should have in my life I this point. But our lives are going in different directions, so any kind of constant communication at this point would be moot. And besides, clinging to the past won’t help me develop my future. I need to figure this out on my own. It’s like Charles said, not trusting people won’t help me feel better, or change the past. Fred made the choice to cheat on me, and it was his alone to make. It’s not my fault for trusting him. Trusting people does not make them cheat on you.
I really want to trust Isaac. But I also don’t want to scare him off. I thought when I’d finally divulge my depressive tendencies to him that they would be past tense, and less scary, but eventually he’ll see cuts or scars that I can’t cover up. Eventually I’ll need him to be that person I run to when I can’t stop myself. And as much as I wish I didn’t put that pressure on my partner, and would instead go to friends, that’s just not how I operate. And that doesn’t make me weak. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.)
I’ve lost any romantic love I’ve ever had, but that doesn’t mean love is the problem or that I am. Time just has a way of pulling people apart when their lives are headed down different roads, and only time can make those roads intersect.
I’m not looking for love necessarily, but I am looking for faith in love. “Alright, I’m going to finally get some sleep here,” Charles told me. “Wait,” I said. “Can I ask you one last serious question?” “Alright,” he said. “Do you believe in soul mates?” He paused. “No…maybe…yes? Yes, I think I do.” I decided right then that if Charles could still have that kind of hope in life, after everything I put him through, that maybe I could too.