I keep repeating to myself things I’ve written lately, as if to remind myself over and over again that these words are true. That they do hold meaning. That these things I feel are not unreal or imagined but actually very, very real. In some ways, they serve as a reminder that all this work I’m doing on myself to make myself a better person still doesn’t mean I’m okay – there have been quite a few days lately where I’ve been anything but. Sometimes it’s due to those old nasty childhood abandonment wounds festering underneath the surface, bubbling up when I least expect it – or even if I do – that nag at the back of my mind telling me, “you’re not enough, you were never enough, everyone leaves, even your own parents couldn’t ever fully be there for you.” I try to fight it and remind myself that I am neither not enough nor too much. For someone, starting with myself, I am exactly what I need to be and who that is, is a person who keeps growing and working and looking up and finding reasons to smile and keep going every single day. Even when the air I’m trying to breathe chokes me and I can’t stop shaking and I hide under the covers hyperventilating and crying unsure as to even why I am that way in that moment, afraid to tell anyone or ask for help.

I’ve started to tell some of you. I’ve started to trust some of you. I’m trying. It’s fucking terrifying. Because if you really know me, you can hurt me, and all I’ve known my whole life is that letting anyone in = pain, because they always leave. Everyone leaves. Or dies.

I wrote this just a few weeks ago, but I am repeating it to myself again here, to remind myself maybe this time I shouldn’t run away. Push everyone away. Tell my handful of truly close friends that I am okay when I’m not. Stop pretending and only falling apart behind closed doors and muscling through while lying to everyone and myself. I hate liars. I know better. And so here are these words again, and maybe they’ll stick with me this time and I’ll start to listen to myself…or maybe not. But here’s to trying.

You see, people leave. Everyone I have ever loved has always left me so when I start falling for someone or caring for someone, I cling on too hard until I panic, push them away, and then remind myself this is how it always ends anyway and what I always expect. Only it shouldn’t be. There are people showing up in my life these days that believe it to be different. That I believe are different and truly will be there for me. And I keep reminding myself the same words I wrote earlier this week on here and earlier this summer in my journal –

“Stop falling for people who mirror the skeletons of your past.

Start falling for the person who shows up and sees your soul.”

Perhaps I’m not invisible. Maybe I don’t want to be. I don’t really know. What I do know is that caring for someone – actually caring – is the scariest thing I can ever imagine. Getting attached is terrifying. And I don’t mean attached as in losing your identity and needing to be around someone 24/7 or trying to tell them what they can and can’t or should and shouldn’t do – no that’s awful. I mean getting attached to where you expect someone to show up when they say they will, expect them to be okay with you when you’re at your worst, and know they’ll be with you when you’re also at your best. Not just because you’d do that for them – you already do that for everyone around you because it’s just the fabric of your being and how your heart lives. But because they care. Genuinely truly care and are able to be present in a way that no one you’ve ever met your entire life is able to be. That’s terrifying to me. To actually look forward to good things with good people without qualifications or expectations or stipulations or conditions that keep telling you no, you’re not good enough. You never were. You never will be.

Which is the lie? What happens when what you’ve always known is suddenly changing and what’s up is down, and suddenly all these walls start to crumble because holy fucking shit. You’re letting someone in. Not just throwing your skeletons in the street and screaming, “here! Look at me! I am a mess!” though chances are you’ve done that too (I’ve done that too).

This “you” I speak of is me. I am her. I always am. Sometimes my brain spits things out in the third person to make it hurt less. To make reality feel just a little out of reach. To make the pain a little more muted. To make the healing a little easier. To make the understanding sink in a little more slowly in the hopes that it sticks this time. That you start to believe it. That I start to believe it. Shit. It hurts to breathe.

I’m back. Sorry, I had to walk away for a minute. Sometimes believing you are something is the hardest thing you can do. That and remembering to breathe. I’ll be okay, I promise. I always am, and I’ve made it this far after all. Just be gentle with me, okay? Please? I’ve never been anyone’s peach and damn but I’ve got a heart like a truck, that’s for sure. Like our one friend says to me all the time, I’m broken but all the pieces are there. I just may need a little help putting them all back together.