Once our friendship changed forms, at what point did the element of underlying fear I felt go from an uncomfortable little nagging feeling I would get from time to time into a feeling of dread and terror on a regular basis? I’m not sure. I used to experience feelings like that in romantic relationships, but I haven’t felt that way in at least 15 years, and I don’t fully understand what happened in my relationship with you that triggered such intense feelings of fear again. I don’t have a fear of being transparent with people I care about. It doesn’t bother me in the least to share my innermost thoughts. I pride myself on being authentic. Real. So this feeling of vulnerability; of inadequacy – why now? Why with you?
You were a virtual stranger to me. Words on a screen. Then a voice on the phone. And before I knew it you became a person I treasured and cared for deeply. It’s unusual that I feel my soul connect with someone. It’s rare when two people experience a feeling of mutual affection and soul connection. I felt that uncommonly quickly with you. And for some reason I completely surrendered to that feeling I had inside. I threw caution to the wind and gave in. It felt good. Really good. I was experiencing feelings I hadn’t felt in ages. Not romantic feelings, but there was something *more* there. Call it chemistry. Or passion. Call it temporary insanity. Call it whatever you want, because I can’t find fitting words to accurately describe the feelings I was experiencing.
The newness of it all was exciting. The pictures and words became intoxicating. The thrill of the danger and the risk of being caught added an element for sure. But in those moments and during that period of time even when I evaluated the greatest “risk” of what was happening, it never felt dangerous. Because it wasn’t real. Nothing was actually happening. So I took comfort in that. Obviously now I see that the simplistic view I had of what was going on was irresponsible, immature, and most of all, selfish. I allowed myself to be completely seduced by the awakening of those feelings. It had been a long time since I’d felt anything like the newness and excitement I found with you. I’m ashamed at how selfish I was, but at the time I loved every second I got to spend getting closer to you.
When things cooled off so suddenly, I instantly felt that I had no value in your eyes. I feared that you wouldn’t find me special enough to secure and cement a place for me in your life. I panicked. I felt like I was in danger of losing you, and I felt completely out of control. I thought of what had been shared and I was overwhelmed. I felt so naked and exposed. I’d opened up to you in a way that I haven’t opened up to anyone new in almost two decades. I showed you everything. All of me. I was paralyzed with paranoia, constantly wondering if the whole thing had been a joke to you. I worried about everything you had that could quite literally leave my life in ruins if it got into the wrong hands. But oddly enough, the thing I worried about the most was you finding me so average and uninteresting that you would walk out of my life just as quickly as you had walked into it. I couldn’t bear that thought. Everything had changed because I had developed genuine feelings for you. I liked you so much. I thought that simply taking another form (friend, pal, buddy, bro) it might be enough to convince you to stay around. I wondered what I had done to make you stop adoring me and begin holding me at arm’s length. You actually vanished without so much as a word for weeks and I was so confused, blindsided, and hurt. Those feelings stuck with me from that point on. I came to believe that you would’ve never come back into my life at all if I hadn’t reached out to you when I did. I still believe that. And that crushed me because you mattered so much to me. Thinking that I was so easy to throw away destroyed me in a way that I can’t explain. It shouldn’t. I know that. But the fact is, it did.
You’d become so much more than a handsome face or a hot body to me. You were more than just a stranger who showed me some attention because I’m not lacking there (and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way at all – I’m trying to say Mr.Kitt-en makes me feel incredibly loved). I was crushed because I’d intentionally invested in you in an emotional way. You warned me that there’d be no feelings on your end at all, but I chose to believe that our connection was so intense that you would eventually realize you did have feelings for me. And let me be perfectly clear – I’m talking about feelings as they relate to friendship. The feelings I’m talking about have absolutely zero to do with lust, desire, or any other forbidden sins. They were so much deeper than I ever thought they would be. And I still don’t have a good explanation for why I felt that way. It had never happened before like this. How do you explain why you need someone or something so much when every emotional and physical need for love is already satisfied in every way? I don’t know. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. But I confess all of it is true. The intensity and passion were true in their time. And an overwhelming feeling of affection (in a completely non-physical sense of the word) was true in its time. Unfortunately, I felt insecure and sabotaged everything that was real and good and pure between us by trying to manipulate you into staying, when you probably weren’t even “leaving”. And I did it in the most deplorable way.
I wish I hadn’t spent so much time wondering if I was enough. Just me…and none of that other stuff. For so long I’ve felt like a strong woman with incredible relationships and amazing people surrounding me. But clearly I completely overestimated my strength, character, and ability to practice self-control. My behavior actually screamed “I don’t value myself and you shouldn’t value me either.” In the moments where I felt most afraid I was losing you, I would throw out whatever I could in an attempt to please you or get you to say something – anything – that would make me feel like you cared enough to keep me in your life for another day. It only gave me a temporary sense of security and round and round I went in this circle of madness. I was seriously lacking maturity and self-realization. It’s embarrassing.
The truth is, all relationships (no matter the form) cause us to be vulnerable if we’re committed to being real. We have to surrender to our feelings and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. And all the while, there are no guarantees. There’s absolutely no way to know exactly how things are going to go so that we can eliminate or drastically reduce our risk of being hurt. That’s just the way it is. That’s just a part of life. There’s always the possibility that we can lose someone or something that is special to us. Or we can act like crazy lunatics and make empty threats and say ugly words that will most certainly guarantee a bitter ending. Next time I’ll choose differently. Of that I am certain.
I so wish I’d remembered that I’m worthy of being treasured. In forgetting this and allowing negative thoughts to creep in and take over my self-esteem I became the person I believed you thought I was. It was truly a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I’m working through every little bit of this situation and digging to find the root cause, I continue to learn things. One of the painful lessons I’ve learned is that by sabotaging things for the sake of my own security I wasted a whole lot of time I could’ve spent forging a mutual, healthy friendship. What a freaking waste.
The past belongs where I left it. Fear, insecurity, desperation, and manipulation have to go. It’s just such a shame that I’m learning this lesson as a result of losing a friendship with you that I believe could have stood the test of time. I pray that one day I’ll find a way to forgive myself for all of this. It still weighs heavily on my heart. And I still miss the hell out of you.
Slightly Smarter (I hope) but still Sadly,
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Broken Vessels by Hillsong.