I was never one to pray, but the day you entered my life I got down on my knees and begged that this time would be different. I don’t know exactly who I was speaking to, but I got down, clasped my hands together, and spoke out loud to whoever was listening.
“Please; I know you’ve been watching me. I know you’ve seen me trying, and I know you’ve watched me fail. I promise, whatever it is you need me to do, I will do it this time. Just please don’t bring him to me, and then take him away. I don’t know if I can bear to lose someone I care about this much; not again.”
It was a long and tiresome next couple of days. Each day, I waited to hear from you. When my phone would buzz, I was instantly filled with gratitude, only to be filled with fear in the impending minutes before the next gleeful buzz.
“What if he doesn’t respond this time?”
But you always did. Sometimes the conversation would die out until the next day, and the pain would be looming in the dark hours I spent alone, waiting for a better tomorrow.
The next day would come. “How are you doing?” The simplicity and sweetness of your words would fill my soul, and the pattern would continue. But I never told you how I truly felt. Instead, I just gave the abridged version.
“Great,” I would say.
I couldn’t help but notice I had been in this scene before. It was as though my life was on a constant loop, and I was only just realizing my ability to fast forward.
But the idea of moving too fast always scared me, so I was stuck standing in that same reel. I heard my friends’ words echoing in my ears. “What if you’re not ready? Are you sure this is what you really want this time?”
I could feel the self-sabotage minions building a mountain in my chest. I could imagine what they were saying about me. “Here she goes again. Yet another great potential-relationship for her to destroy. We better get to work.”
It was at that exact moment I muttered the words, “Not today, minions.”
I thought about the recurring past events that created these demons in my mind. I realized they were controlling my every move, as though my ability to love had been taken over by tiny, depressed robots determined to destroy my world.
These little robots all had the same face. These mindless micro-motives were all Him, marching in my brain.
He was the one I wrote about in my childhood diary. The one who was way too popular, so I knew he would never like me. He broke me down the moment he stomped on my juice box in the third grade.
He was my first kiss. A kiss from the boy in elementary school who was labeled “The Rebel,” and invited me to his house to ride on the back of his dirt bike. My mom found my journal plastered with the words, “I can’t believe he made me kiss him, only to ‘dumb’ me in front of the whole class.”
He was my first love. A love I left behind after three years of romantic, undeniable bliss, then sought to replace in the years to come, as my new found depression flung me into meaningless relationships with boys who loved me for the way I was perceived by others, and drinks that made me forget how I perceived myself.
He was Fear. Fear that I was not good enough. Fear that I did not deserve to be loved. Fear that I would be alone forever because I had given over every opportunity I had for love to those demons in my mind.
He constantly told me I wasn’t ready for love, so that fear was reflected in every man, woman, friendship, and relationship I would encounter. They all had the same monologue. “I’m confused. Maybe I’m not ready for this. Maybe you’re too good for me, and I don’t deserve you.”
It was as though the people I encountered were projections of myself, telling me the same words I played over in my mind. I wanted to believe those people weren’t real; that they were just floating in front of me, like magnified images of shade and light. But they were all too real, and even though I couldn’t open my eyes and make them disappear, I knew I could open my heart, and make a new storyline appear in their place.
Finding you gave me a chance to play that story again, except this time give it a new ending. You are the answered prayer that was sent to me so that I can finally get this right.
The day I got down on my knees and spoke to whoever was listening was the day I decided to stop listening to my fear. My prayer was a cry for help, but it was also the answer I had been searching for. Whoever I was talking to smiled down at me and said, “I need you to understand that you deserve this. I wouldn’t bring you someone just to take them away. I don’t want you to keep feeling pain. I want you to be happy.”
I can tell myself over and over that the same pain is going to occur and that I am destined to be alone forever, or I can focus on the image in my viewfinder and listen to what it is telling me. The day I pictured you and I together was the day I started believing that there was still love in my heart and that I didn’t have to believe in the story I was telling myself.
Now that you are here, I don’t want to imagine a life without you and I know I don’t have to. You have consumed my mind and my heart, except this time I am allowing that to happen. It’s okay to slow things down to a pace we can both keep up with, and not push things to the edge of the cliff so I can fall back to where I started. I am scared, but I’m going to stop believing in my fear, and believe in you because you are everything I’ve ever wanted to believe in.