I Can’t Save You – And I Don’t Want To Anyway

Flickr / Shandi-lee Cox
Flickr / Shandi-lee Cox

I can’t save you. I cannot rescue you from yourself. I see how desperately you want me to try, how you ache for me to do it for you. Life. You say you want a partner, a cheerleader, a teammate – and yet, you’re not there yourself. You haven’t done the work. Because the thing is, is that love – the real, heady, life-long kind – isn’t easy. Whatever they tell you in the songs and the movies and the adverts isn’t real. Real love is a slog. A dirty uncomfortable-ness of sameness, of two people pushing to be better whilst cheerleading the fuck out of who you already are. And you don’t know how to do that.

Not yet.

You’re not happy with yourself, and I sure as hell am not the solution for that.

I see how you project all the personal qualities you wish for yourself onto me. You put me on a pedestal of spontaneity and ease of being. You see the work that I have done to face my demons, to crack myself open, shedding light on my darkest parts. You want the same for yourself, and so you think that if only we could be together you’d be saved. That that’s enough.

You see my wide-open heart, but don’t understand that there’s a big fucking fence around it.

I have to protect myself. My heart. It wants to save you – I want to save you. But you see, you’d think less of me if I did. Because then I’d have to be vulnerable and you don’t want me vulnerable. You like the theory of my tantrums and slides into melancholy – just enough to remind you that I’m human. But you don’t have the stomach for the way I can speak about you, directly to your face. The way I can speak to myself. You don’t like it when I don’t have the answers. You rely on me for the solution without understanding that what makes me isn’t knowing – it’s not being afraid to ask.

You don’t want to ask the difficult questions because you’re still too terrified of what you might find. You should be. Turning inwards to shake out your ugliest parts is fucking terrifying. It takes commitment. And that’s just it: you can’t even commit to yourself that way. So you’re in no state to commit to me.

If I sound harsh, it’s because I’m frustrated. I know just how marvelous you could be – how incredible you’d feel about yourself if you just stopped being so goddamn afraid.

I’m not saying you are not worth loving, just as you are. I love you already. And it’s because I love you that I beg, with every feeling that I have for you, to show up. Turn out your pockets, empty what you’ve got, and inspect it honestly and deeply. Take your time.

Get to know yourself, inside out. Let me love all of you by loving yourself first.

You are funny and kind, driven and ambitious. A natural father for your unborn children. An impressive houseguest, honest friend, the best dinner date anyone could want. You could find a partner tomorrow, and be married be next week. You’d have an unchallenged and middling life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You could be happy.

But if you want me – difficult and stubborn, unpredictable and unsure, rootless and wondering and wandering and curious, you’ve got work to do first. You’ve got to meet me on the bridge. I can’t drag you there. I can’t go for you. This has to come from you.

I’m not your answer.

But I could be the best question you’ll ever ask. TC mark

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