My Experience with Philophobia
I sobbed today for the first time in a while.
I think my friends, and maybe even readers, would find that surprising. I totally seem like the sobbing type, right? And it’s true, I’m the one you’d call when you want someone totally comfortable with uncomfortable emotions. I’ll rub your back and you can spill your guts. We can cry together! It fits with who you expect me to be, right?
I get teary-eyed over so many things. Some sweet heart-felt message a reader sent. Those dreadful commercials with the sad-eyed puppy dogs that I wish I could save. The sting of sudden nostalgia when a memory I’d kept buried suddenly pops up. Movies get me. Books. Essays. I will read the same sentence four times, letting tears cloud my vision, and go back again. Read it again so I can feel it. I want to feel it.
It’s definitely not unusual for me to cry. I should put it on my resume under additional skills. Ari Eastman, filled to the brim with emotions and will totally bawl during How To Train Your Dragon 2 with you! References available upon request.
But today, I sobbed. The ugly kind. Dramatic clutching my chest kind of shit. I turned up my music because I hated hearing the sound. The sound of my own loneliness and confusion. The sound of my own body trying to express something I can’t put into words, not really. I’m not sure I even knew why I was sobbing.
My family asks why I’m so sad. And I will make a joke. Or say I’m going to up my Zoloft dosage. I’ll schedule an appointment with my doctor, maybe finally find a therapist I like. I spend so much time trying to get them to like me, I end up not talking about issues. I’m so concerned with people liking me. It’s killing me. Maybe not now. Maybe not right away. But I can see it will be my own undoing. This Grim Reaper waving at me, full of faces of those who rejected me. Full of faces I tried to make love me, I wanted to love me. He is a cloak of darkness, holding his scythe, reminding me of everything I’ve ever done wrong. Everything I’m becoming. I don’t know if I like her these days.
My little sister says she thinks I’ll be happier when I get a boyfriend. Or when I just let someone love me. She’s eight years old and even she can see that I’m pushing. She writes me notes, “Do not be sad. There are so many boys!” And I want to hug her and be eight years old again with her. I realize it is not even the boys, or the one boy, I am hurting over. It’s not that I need a romantic partner. It’s not that I need another human to complete me. It’s that I’m so resistant to love. All love.
Someone recently mentioned this fear, philophobia. The state of being irrationally afraid of falling in love. Those with this condition often retreat into long periods of solitude, pushing away anyone who gets too close. Being alone has become a habit of mine. Something I love, something I find myself craving.
This probably all seems a bit bizarre considering I write endless love poems. I’m bleeding my heart through fingertips most nights, typing away. I’m clinging to the memories of past, of loves who loved me back, those who pursued me and I ran the opposite direction, and the most powerful of material, the daydream lovers I wanted so much more from, but they only gave a little. I’m getting sick of myself, and my obsession with love.
But the thing is, I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t an obsession with wanting it, but rather, an obsession of it getting too close. I write to remember. That hurt. That fucking hurt, so don’t let it happen again. Don’t do it. Write the stories. Write the memories. Write the pain so it stays in the computer screen, journals, pages, but not in your skin.
But the problem with trying to escape love?
You stop loving yourself in the process too.