I never realized that the fear of my own past has created all these walls of protection. After nearly 20 years of being non stop in either destructive or dead relationships, I’ve become sensitive to so many things when it comes to relationships. It would be easier just to spend the rest of my life alone – without anyone by my side. It would be easier to isolate myself completely. I don’t fear loneliness – there’s nothing worse than the loneliness you feel in a dead relationship anyway. I always have my creativity. My art and writing will always be my company. I would live only by my own rules, my own expectations and fulfill my needs without making any sacrifices for anyone else. I would feel safe in my loneliness because there wouldn’t be anyone there to hurt me, to leave me or to destroy my sense of happiness. I would be lonely but free – and I could make art all the time. I would become a hermit genius who produces like 10 000 drawings a year. I would create an amazing legacy.
It is a tempting thought. Somehow like it’s a loophole – it would guarantee a pain free future. My life would be a trauma free zone. I would outsmart the unknown and create my own destiny – and the magic word would be ‘avoidance’.
But it’s only tempting for a minute.
I look over at Johnny while he’s not aware of my stare and for a second I’m a little annoyed. Who is this man who makes the avoidance seem like a bad idea – who challenges my idea of becoming a hermit genius artist and instead wants me to be in a relationship again even though I clearly suck at it? I could ask him to leave now, then I would pursuit my plan of loneliness and avoidance and it would be the last time I would be this close to a man ever again. I could ask him to stop loving me, because I am too damaged anyway. It must be hard to love me. I have my freak outs, my days of tears and sadness, moments of ugliness and darkness. What does he see in me anyway? Is he blind? Stupid? A masochist?
Suddenly he notices my stare and gives me a smile. Oh crap, don’t smile, don’t look so happy. It makes all these thoughts seem so delusional. I smile back. Great, now I’ve done it. Now it’s too late to ask him to leave. This happiness makes it feel impossible. I don’t like it. How can my magic word be ‘avoidance’ when I just want to explore everything in life with this man? What’s wrong with me?
He comes over to me, puts his arms around me and I suddenly forget about my plans of loneliness and solitude. He whispers in my ears: “I know you feel scared, I know you feel naked and vulnerable right now. I understand. But I don’t want to put you in another cage. You’ve known too many cages already. I want you to feel free. I want to make you happy. I never want to take from you, only add. This is the first time in your life where nobody is demanding something from you, more than to be yourself and it freaks you out. But I am here. I won’t leave. I am here.”
His words feel wonderful inside but they’re equally scary. Because the antidote to avoidance – is trust. And here it is – I either trust him or I can go on with my plan of avoiding everything he represents to me. Love. Pleasure. Happiness. Sharing. Or I can go for all those things and trust that everything will be alright. But all that comes without any guarantees. Without any walls of protection.