Fearless Friday: A Sad Fantasy

I can’t remember the first time I had this fantasy, but it was when I was younger, much younger. I can’t really guess beyond that. It would be a guess based on nothing.

I used to fantasize, at first when I’d be flying back and forth to Israel, that something would happen to me. That I would be hurt in a freak accident either when I was in the country or on the plane.

I call this my semi-suicidal fantasy, because I feel some strange need to label it.

I never fantasized about taking my own life. And usually I only fantasized about getting hurt, not getting killed.

But really, all these fantasies were rooted in something totally different, I wanted to know who would show up. Who would show up to my hospital room or to my funeral. I wanted to know who loved me.

When I read Hunger by Roxane Gay last week, I was floored when she wrote, “When I broke my ankle, love was no longer an abstraction.”

I suddenly had a realization, not that I was seeking proof of love, I knew that all along, but that I wasn’t necessarily alone in this doubt of the love around me.

I want you all to know that I am seeing a therapist, that she knows about this fantasy, that I’m working through it. I feel a need to tell you all that it doesn’t happen as often now. That when it does, I know what to do, who to turn to. I wish I could tell you that I’m healed, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am loved now. But healing is work, and I’m still working.

I mostly just want you to know you’re not alone. I was very confused by this fantasy when I was younger. I was scared of it. And I was also ashamed of it. Sure that something was wrong with me that I was thinking this way. So I told no one about it. Now I’m telling you, on the off chance one of you reads it and feels less alone, less ashamed.

Beautiful Words, pt. 12

I’m going to be writing a few posts about Hunger by Roxane Gay. I knew this book would be about bodies and food, what I didn’t expect (and really, I should have known better) was that this book would also be about worthiness and relationships. Today’s post will be focused on that. About the role that shame plays in isolating us. And about how human connection is the key to coming back.

Sometimes, it freaks me out when someone else puts pen to paper and gets at the core of my being. But after that first reaction, I get flooded by warmth, I realize I am not alone, I am not crazy, I am not a freak, I am human. That happened to me several times in this book. I read and I thought I might be reading my own journal. And so I made note of the places where I wasn’t alone. These are them.

That’s a powerful thing, knowing you can reveal yourself to someone.”

Part of the reason relationships and friendships can be so difficult for me is because there is a part of me that thinks that I have to get things just right. I have to say the right things and do the right things or I won’t be liked or loved anymore. It’s stressful, so then I engage in an elaborate attempt at being the best friend or girlfriend and get further and further away from who I really am, someone with a good heart, but also someone who may not always get things right. I find myself apologizing for things I shouldn’t be apologizing for, things that I am not at all sorry for. I find myself apologizing for who I am.”

I don’t do fear very well. I try to push people I love away. I worry that I’m not allowed human weakness, that this makes me not good enough.”

When I broke my ankle, love was no longer an abstraction.”

When I worry I’m not strong, I become very invested in appearing invulnerable, unbreakable, stone-cold, a fortress, self-sustaining. I worry that I need to keep up this appearance even when I cannot.”

I Am Loved

A few weeks ago, after a so-so therapy session, I thought about how I rarely believe people when they tell me that they love me.

I decided that maybe, along with reminding myself that I am worthy of love, I should also work on remembering that I’m already loved by at least a handful of people.

Being myself, I couldn’t just leave it at that. I wanted to gain some understanding of this kind-of-epiphany. I’ve spent a lot of the last year thinking that I didn’t believe that they loved me because I didn’t feel worthy of love. But I wondered if there was something more. So I turned to the internet.

One idea that really drew me in talked about the “…need to observe, judge, and categorize human behavior as love.” He goes on to say “…there must be a lot of folks that love you, but you may have to learn that everybody manifests it in different ways.” He calls it a “…disconnect between observation and perception of love.”

Basically, we expect love to look a certain way and if someone doesn’t meet those expectations, it is easy for us to believe that that person doesn’t love us (even if they tell us that they do). After all, we’ve been taught that actions are more important than words (just look at the title of this blog).

This, unsurprisingly, made me think of The 5 Love Languages. So I went and took their quiz. I think the last time I did it was about a year ago, during my last relationship. I was mostly curious to see what they had to say about our love language in relation to the love languages of those who love us.

They say “You may have scored certain ones of the love languages more highly than others, but do not dismiss those other languages as insignificant…Your friends and loved ones may express love in those ways, and it will be beneficial for you to understand this about them.”

So I’m going to challenge myself to expand my idea of what love looks like. To realize that different people show love in different ways. To remember that I can tell people what way works best for me, and I shouldn’t discount what ways come naturally to them.