“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable” – C.S. Lewis
That was my life before her: lonely and selfish, wrapped in hobbies and little luxuries, safe and secure. But I didn’t want it to be, and at long last, after many years of never letting anyone in, I took the chance. For a year it was remarkable, and despite my worst career and financial hardships to date, I had never felt happier. But as time went on, one of us lost feelings and interest, and as always, it wasn’t me.
“I am saying that someone will be the risk for you someday,” my best friend said to me “Even after the chase, they will find you worth it, and they’ll never let you go.” Coming from someone whose wife had woke up one morning to tell him she didn’t love him and walked out of his life and our lives forever, hearing such positive, uplifting comments proved to me that miracles do exist. Somehow, someway, my friend got through those horrific circumstances. I remember how hard they were just for me as his friend! I never imagined he would be the one to comfort me in my suffocating depression and feeling of worthlessness. If my shreiking pain was unfathomable now, what had his been like?
For a year I fell more and more in love. I poured everything into my relationship and loved like a hurricane. I opened up, trusted, became more vulnerable than ever before with anyone else in my whole life. I can’t help but wonder if this was the problem. Should I have withdrew and stayed mysterious? At 27, I figured I was done with that, and I wanted something more.
With my friends scattered throughout the country and the world, her friends became my friends, her area started becoming my area, I longed to grow closer to her family, I anticipated trips and events with her and her friends. As always, I gave my all and lived to serve her, do life with her, and romance her into oblivion. It made me sad to see her leave each weekend or when I left her to head home. I never doubted her words, believing she would be there for me no matter what, until one day she wasn’t, and didn’t want me anymore. And just like that, I felt like I was cut off and erased. Any connection to me, decapitated. It left me feeling like a nobody who was in the way, needing to be discarded and thrown out. Somehow, I was suddenly unworthy of any kind of respect or dignity.
Time and time again, even the very best people had proven heartless toward me, and my relationships ended in abandonment. It’s one thing to break up, but quite another to cut them off and walk out of their life. Just when I had finally dissolved my bitterness from the past years and felt I had the courage to love again, the whole thing fell apart on me again, leaving me decimated and more hopeless than ever. Naturally optimistic and full of life, I turned the opposite, even though I didn’t want to be.
“One thing I can assure you of, just think, you are just that much closer now to finding your forever love,” my friend said to me. “Now you are so much closer than ever before, and on top of that, you are more clear than ever on what you want.”
Except I felt like I was never more far away and that I had lost my chance forever. At this age, I wanted someone who wasn’t just going to stick around for a chapter, but wanted to combine stories and write the rest together. Someone who thought me worthy of love and dignity. Against my will, I’d have to go back to wrapping myself in hobbies, little luxuries, and locking up my hemorrhaged heart in a safe, secure coffin of selfishness. A death without a funeral that would hope for one last chance of resurrection.
For the very first time in my life, I felt sympathy for people who resorted to alcohol, drugs, or even suicide to numb or escape their pain. Rather than judging or condemning, I felt for them in a way I never thought I would, because the torment I felt hurt mentally and even physically. For me, it wasn’t just heartbreak, it was coupled with so many other painful, tragic, and challenging circumstances that had all occurred in my life at the same time and throughout the same year.
I think having someone you love with forever love, disregard you entirely, and for no particular reason, finding your very existence not worth acknowledging to be the one thing that might be worse than dying, whether it’s intentional or not.
But hope comes in ways and through people I’d never expect, and at exactly the right moments. It might feel like a death with no funeral, but I can’t help but believe a bigger story might be unfolding. That’s the only hope I have left, so I’ll cling to it. I was never one to believe death was the end, anyway.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”- The Great Gatsby