I don’t want to start with an apology, but I feel like I should. I’m sorry, because my whole life I’ve been ready. Ready every morning, ready at every gaze that lasts a second too long, ready after any heartfelt compliment. Ready with wide open eyes and a heart open even wider. I was born ready to fall in love.
But it’s hard to resist life’s attempts to narrow those wide eyes into suspicion. And, although I wish I could say I’d fought life and won, I’m not sure I have. I want to feel that pure, happy hope, that’s always inspired me. Deep down, I still do. It’s in the giggle that takes me off guard and the fleeting daydream that leaves a soft smile. But the hope doesn’t last long enough to truly be felt, to leave a beaming grin, to push me towards love, anymore. Instead, that hope spurs an all-over ache. My shoulders slouch, remembering how impossible it was to stand straight after that last crumble. My arms feel heavy, and I think a part of them can’t forget that the last few times I really hugged someone, my embrace was shattered. My legs are too tired to even consider another chase, and there’s a dull pit in my stomach. Like it’s sick of being nervous.
I think that’s what actual heartache is. When your heart feels too tired to love. And I’m sorry, because I have never been slow to love. I’ve never been hesitant to like. Smiles don’t make me nervous. But lately, when they’re caused by someone else, they do. Part of me would rather not get involved with anyone than risk being hurt one more time. Because part of me wonders if I can handle “one more” any more.
And I think that’s what true cowardice is. Letting uncertainty restrain you. So I’m sorry for being a coward, and I’m sorry that it’ll probably paint me as much more stand-offish than I actually am. It’s not fair that you’re going to have to work so much harder than the last guy. It’s not fair that now I have “walls,” because nobody likes those (especially not Labrinth). It’s not fair that you’re going to have to promise that you won’t hurt me, because that promise is impossible for anyone to keep forever. It’s not fair that that’s what I need to hear, and it’s not fair that it’s going to take me so long to trust you, when I used to take pride in my innate trust in everyone. I’m sorry.
All I can say is that, although those random giggles and vivid daydreams are more rare than they once were, they’re alive at the core of who I am. Innate trust will always be something I believe in, even if it’s hard for me to practice right now. And because I know that, I also know that it’s still possible for me to fall in love, even though I’m not nearly as ready as I always have been.
Maybe that’s not the worst thing.