Forgetting How To Love Someone

You can forget how to love someone. I’m almost sure of it. It’s a skill like anything else, right? If left unattended, it withers, it dies, it gets forgotten.

I’m forgetting what it feels like to really love someone or maybe I’ve already forgotten. It could be too late. I could be faced with something great, someone great, and not know the first thing to do with it.

Do I put my arm around you like this? Do we spend every night together? Do we move in after two years? What are the rules? You have to teach me. I’m a spring chicken. When everyone else was getting into relationships and learning how to be a great partner, I was working or laying in bed or running away from the possibility of meeting someone because I was scared, because I wouldn’t sacrifice anything, because the concept of sharing my day-to-day life with someone else left me trembling, even though it’s what I wanted.

A dry spell can quickly turn into tumbleweeds. A few months can turn into a few years. Time is always screwing you up like that. It’s always reminding you that, contrary to what you might think, you’re not calling the shots. Time is. Time dictates everything and it can either kill something or make it grow.

Things have already changed. They’ve been changing and I’ve just been too frightened to acknowledge it. Just be nostalgic, just think about a day that’s not today, and you’ll be fine. You won’t have to move forward. That’s how it works, right? If I don’t pay attention to what’s happening right now, if I choose to focus on the stuff that’s already happened, I’m freezing time.

Right?

Wrong. It’s this kind of thinking that has led me here, that has caused me to forget the most valuable skill of all and be writing this stupid thing in the first place. I’m not sure what it is that I want. A boyfriend who can reteach me what it feels like to be cared for, to be protected. A boyfriend who can teach me how to not be so terrified of everything. The irony is that I’m an intimate person. I thrive off intimacy. But in the past few years, something has shifted to the point where I’m just frightened of human connection. It’s the one thing I crave the most but it’s also the main thing I run away from.

Here are two things I know how to do: Be someone’s friend and work. All of my brain power goes to those two things and it’s like there’s no room left for anything else. My best friend is the opposite. She knows how to be in relationships but struggles with work. It makes me think that every person has their deficit. Mine just pertains to love. For some reason, it’s more mortifying than any other deficit. It’s the most shameful. TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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