Everything was just fine. You were content in every sense of the word. Then one day there was a knock at the door and it was your old friend, Feelings. For many of us, we’ve been avoiding Feelings like the plague. We say, “What are you doing here? I haven’t been responding to your calls or texts for a reason.” But Feelings just wants to hang out, spend a little time – do some catching up. It sounds like a dreadful idea. You know how this ended last time. It’s not that you don’t enjoy Feelings’ presence. It has more to do with the fact that Feelings always brings an uninvited guest.
You cave, allowing Feelings to come in. You’ll do a lot of reminiscing. Recalling happy times from the past, debating why you stopped being such good friends. You both know why, but you’ll dodge that discussion to avoid spoiling the positive environment you and Feelings are currently in.
In typical fashion, Feelings invited a friend. That friend’s name is Hope. Hope brought a suitcase upon arrival. That suitcase held a few clothes and some grooming products – only enough for a short stay. At least that’s how it typically works. You’re fully prepared for Hope to be in and out of your home in a timely manner, because that’s the common procedure.
You’re a cautious person, but by spending time with Feelings you’ve slightly changed your thinking. Feelings’ friend Hope needs shelter, and you volunteered your home as a temporary haven. That gesture is powerful. By willingly welcoming Feelings into your humble abode, you’ve altered the entire atmosphere in ways that aren’t immediately recognizable or physically visible. You don’t normally enjoy this. You’ve got a security system installed because you don’t trust people in your home. It staves off thieves who try to steal your belongings for a quick fix. You don’t like people being in your home at all – much less luggage-toting strangers named Hope. In the past you’ve enforced a strict no company rule. This goes against everything you’re comfortable with, but Feelings is persuasive, so you make an exception for Hope.
Things are going surprisingly nice. You’re thoroughly enjoying having Hope around. Feelings tells you, “See, I told you Hope was amazing — you never listen to me!” Feelings will convey all of Hope’s great qualities to you, omitting the bad. Feelings ignores initial red flags and gut instincts, because right now you like Hope, and that’s all that really matters.
You and Hope snuggle on the couch talking about life. Talking about future plans. Telling stories about your teenage stupidity. Talking about guilty pleasures, embarrassing memories and your favorite pizza toppings. Talking about everything, and nothing at all.
You’re growing uncomfortably comfortable with Hope around. The typically irritating habits Hope has aren’t annoying you in the slightest. Why does Hope have to be so flawless and continuously prove Feelings right?
You’re falling. Falling dangerously deep. The lower you get, the darker it should be – but Hope is shining bright, lighting everything up along the way. Because it’s lit up, you’re able to see things you never have in the past. Lower and lower you sink, discovering brand new territories. It’s beautiful down there.
Feelings tells you to relax. To fall. To quit wildly grabbing for something to hang on to, and completely let yourself go. You fall uncontrollably until finally, you land. Hope has caught you. After a lengthy plummet, you’ve found stability. It’s indescribable really. It’s as if Hope has placed you on a solid surface — yet it also feels like your walking amongst the clouds. Feelings tells you that this is what you’ve always wanted – and for all you know, it truly is.
Time goes by and as content as you were alone, you’re twice as joyful and comfortable with Hope and Feelings around. It’s pure happiness. Feelings raises expectations regularly, and Hope continuously exceeds them. How were you able to function before? It was so lonely without company. That’s not how life is meant to be, isolated and closed off. We’re supposed to share it. We’re supposed to invite Feelings over and fall until Hope catches us.
Then you wake up one morning. It may be sudden and unforeseen, or it may have been a long time coming — but Hope is gone. Hope is nowhere to be found. If this has happened before, you know the type of pain you’re about to encounter. If it hasn’t, you’re in for a miserable experience. You’ve been abandoned. You search, and maybe even try to get a hold of Hope, but it’s clear that for now, Hope is gone. You place the blame on Feelings. You didn’t ask for this, Feelings forced it on you. Feelings badgered you until you welcomed Hope, trusted Hope, loved Hope. Now Feelings has completely lost all creditability and trust.
Life appears miserable. It’s just you and Feelings living in your home. You’ve upgraded the security, installing the most protective package available. Feelings has fallen ill and there seems to be no remedy. This sluggish, hopeless version of you is in no condition to nurse Feelings back to health. This is one of the lowest lows. Unfortunately this fall is not beautiful when lit and it doesn’t feel like the clouds.
Feelings’ health begins to improve, but this stay must come to an end. You can’t see Feelings everyday, it’s a constant reminder of Hope, and you don’t want that. The only way to erase the memory of Hope and move forward is to evict Feelings and start fresh. You’re alone again, but it’s secure and that’s comfortable. The days are monotonous, the nights are lonely, but the wounds are slowly healing. Every once in a while a thief attempts to break in, but your security system works wonders.
You sit on the couch. You watch one of your guilty pleasure movies and order a pizza with your favorite toppings. This life isn’t glee, but it isn’t gloom either — and maybe that’s all we can ask for. Days. Weeks. Months go by. You’re stronger but you don’t realize it until later. You reflect a lot and feel a great sense of pride in managing to survive being deserted. When you fall deep for Hope and get left at the bottom, you have to pull yourself and the limp body of Feelings all the way back up. Why would you ever want to drop down there again? This is safe. Safe is content. Content is better than miserable. You’re going to be impervious to heartache. You’ll be unbreakable in the future. This will never happen aga–
There’s a knock at the door. You sit for a few moments, hoping that they’ll go away. They ring the doorbell. You remain quiet. More knocks. They aren’t going anywhere, so you tip toe cautiously toward the door, leaning in to take a look through the peephole. It’s Feelings. With multiple pieces of luggage, and a gorgeous friend.