I’m Not Afraid To Be Vulnerable, But I Am Afraid To Fall In Love

Thought.is
Thought.is

Vulnerability has never been something I’ve struggled with. You can browse through my archives to see, I gut myself for public view frequently. Comes with the territory, or at least that’s what I tell people. I chose this art. I chose to unzip myself for crowds.

I chose to show my ugliness, my scars, the parts others would shy away from sharing.

Some people have called this brave, but I’ve always been quick to shrug that off. For me, vulnerability is not brave. We all have different things we struggle with – the things that make us squirm and want to hide our faces beneath blankets. See, vulnerability has never been that for me. It doesn’t make me want to run away. I embrace it. I’m comfortable with it. So, I can’t really call that brave.

I can’t call something that’s so second nature brave.

But being vulnerable and being open to love are two different things. And hell, I wish they were one in the same. Maybe, that way, I’d have an easier time. Instead, I do the second thing I do best – run away.

I run away when someone wants to get romantically close. Sure, I’ll let other people in. I’ll spill my emotions for whoever wants to see. But if you want to date me? You want to kiss me and be a chance at my actual happiness? No way. I’ll flee the second my heart figures out what’s happening.

I don’t know when I became this way.

When I was younger, I loved so fiercely. So unapologetically. Even when I should have been slower, I rushed into arms that seemed so sweet.

I used to think I wouldn’t harden. I was so gentle, so soft, so vulnerable, there was just no way I’d become jaded. Right? I’m too soft!

But edges can harden, even if the rest of you stays delicate. This is a new concept I’m learning. All this time, I’ve been cheering on my vulnerability while simultaneously shutting people out. How can it be? I love so easily, but when romance comes into play, I freeze. I have one foot already out the door.

Maybe this is a learning process. I have to remind myself it won’t always hurt. And some plunges are worth the risk. Baby steps, I say. I’ll go on the date, I say. I’ll text him back, I say.

I don’t know when this got so hard. Honestly? It used to be second nature. And now, I’m only okay when I go home alone.

Will I always be so cold? TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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