Here’s the thing. I know, more intimately than I’ve ever known before or ever wanted to know, that there is only so much a person can take before the next thing breaks them–it doesn’t have to be a volcanic eruption; it could be the proverbial straw.
These days, I do a lot to shield myself from pain–but because, unfortunately, I can not control the way that people treat me, it’s not foolproof. I can limit my sharing and confiding and I can fervently block all forms of communication with those that have shown in the past that they are not trustworthy. The difficulty with this lies in the fact that people are both the problem and the solution. I could not survive losing Ron alone. I can not put myself in a bubble or refuse to ever trust or love again.
I need the support and the hope that remaining actively social provides.
I also need the companionship, the connection, and the tenderness that goes beyond what family and friends can give. This is both my reason for and my qualm with dating. I’m in a position where I want some aspects of a relationship but in small enough amounts that the emotional investment isn’t such that it overshadows everything else that I need to do on my own to continue growing and healing. It’s troubling, because it’s not easy to find.
I will never, ever seek a replacement for Ron.
He is irreplaceable. My love for him will not falter. For now, I work on making room in my heart to add (and never subtract) love, and it’s a slow process. I don’t have enough room yet. I don’t know when I will, or perhaps I never will. I have enough room for exactly what I want and need right now–that aforementioned companionship, connection, and tenderness that falls somewhere beyond the casualness of a friendship but doesn’t quite reach the commitment and vulnerability that a relationship brings.
I’ve met people and had moments of thinking that this is possible and what I want is not unheard of. I’ve also experienced the disappointment and frustration that follows losing that hope. I’ve felt deception, I’ve felt used, and I’ve felt like deciding that none of this is worth it, and this is not the life that I wanted, and why is it that people just happen to be the only way to fill the emptiness while also having so much power to make that emptiness deeper?
Imagine for a moment that your brain is a bucket, your pain is water, and your joy is dry sand.
Every time you feel happy, you put a scoop of sand in that bucket. And every time you feel sad, you add water. Wet sand is the conglomeration of all of those emotions–you’re no longer quite happy, but you’re not quite desolate either. The hope is that you never have to add so much water so rapidly that the sand stops drying, but the reality is that, in some cases, in my case, there’s perpetually more water than sand, and I can see the water sitting on top of the sand now, waiting to overflow, and the sand may never dry.
My heart was already broken beyond repair the day that Ron died–but I am still here; my heart is just a part of me–I am not, in fact, completely broken. And all that I want is to continue not to be completely broken. So please, don’t break me. Don’t be that last few ounces of water that make my bucket overflow. Do not be a person–a friend, family member, or possible romantic interest–that allows me to trust, confide, and find hope when you are not also ready to understand, or at the very least, accept the person that I am and the place that I am at in my life. Treat me with honesty and respect–I aspire to, and seem to be doing a good job (perhaps better than ever before) of returning that honesty and respect. And remember that your best intentions are not enough to keep my bucket from overflowing–know yourself and know what you want, or respect my time and wait until you do. I am strong and self-aware, and it is okay if you are not, but it is not okay to bring me with you on a train that’s about to derail.
Do not break me.