I’ve known battles between my heart and my head before, but never like this.
Pain is familiar to me. Sadness is common company, hurt is safe. Misery follows me, aches linger. I’m used to fighting for my happiness, to finding a glimmer of it and holding on as tightly as I can. I choose to keep a smile on my face as much as possible, I choose to be cheerful and optimistic, but that doesn’t mean that choice is easy. That doesn’t mean I don’t relapse. I struggle every day of my life just to wake up, and I do it somehow, I fight the hardest battle over and over again and it’s only small victories in a big war.
I’m in a long distance relationship, and to anyone who has ever experienced this, you know what it means: pain. Constant and aching. The longing never leaves you, the need never stops. I’ve settled into this pain like a warm blanket, it surrounds my every moment. I’ve sunk into its salt like the sea. I know this pain well. So well, that when it came time to leave it, I was afraid. I was afraid to see her and have it replaced by a joy so profound it filled my whole being. I was so nervous to let it go for those few days, because when it came back, I both knew what to expect and also wondered how it would change. The first two times I left her, it slammed back into me like a hammer and sent shockwaves through my heart. I cried for days. I couldn’t stop. It’s return was so much worse than it’s familiarity. It was new again.
This time, it didn’t ram into me… it just slowly pressed against me. I remember dreading this moment, remembering it’s return before and how it freshly awful it was. I braced myself for the worst, tensing against the inevitable plunge. Instead… I sunk back into it. Slowly, comfortably. I cried a few times, when it went a little too fast. But it mostly kept a steady pace, and I remained braced even after I had already reached the bottom. The pain will come, I thought. It hasn’t happened yet. But what I hadn’t noticed, until now, is that it happened so gradually that I had returned to a state I knew so well, it didn’t alarm me. That’s why I felt like I was almost in denial. It didn’t feel like it actually happened yet. Because when you pull your favorite blanket over you, you don’t stop to think about if it feels different, you just settle underneath and get warm.
Here’s what I know: I know my school, I know it’s campus and classrooms. I know my dorm, its small space and cozy lighting and comfortable bed and much loved quiet. I know my friends, their love and presence. I know my home, my parents that come to see me and bring me back to my childhood home every now and then. I know going down the hall to cook and hooking my computer up to the TV in the lounge, I know clubs, I know the cafes and sidewalks, I know the lake and the library, I know the shuttle and stores I browse alone. I know text messages and phone calls and letters. I know laying awake in the dark and trying to breathe out the loneliness. I know plans and anticipation. I know tears and a pounding heart and “I miss you”s.
Here’s what I also know. I know an apartment with carpets and lights that flicker off. I know city streets and coffee shops on corners. I know metro stops and green parks, I know lights and signs. I know a girl with brown eyes and a beautiful smile. I know holding hands and warm kisses, I know “I love you”s and “goodnight”s. I know a happiness so immense from the simplest of things. I know mornings without pain and falling to sleep with slow breaths. I know of goodbyes that only last a few hours, I know laughter so loud I bite my lip. I know soft skin and small hands, I know closeness and feeling. I know sweet words and parted lips, I know palms and “you’re beautiful.” I know arms around waists, I know shoulders touching, I know staring eyes. I know dates and rituals, I know browsing with a hand in mine, I know ideas and brightness. I know a life with her.
Here’s what I don’t know if I go: I don’t know what will change with more than a few weeks together. I don’t know if we’ll have our first fight, I don’t know if I’ll make things as better as you want them to be. I don’t know if you’ll see me unable to wake up one day. I don’t know if you’ll see me moody or annoyed. I don’t know if I’ll get a job and how well I’ll handle it if I do. I don’t know what will change when I have to leave again.
Here’s what I don’t know if I stay: I don’t know if you’ll be okay. That’s all, because everything else is familiar.
But it’s enough. There’s a girl out there who says her life is better when I’m holding her hand, so how can I stay here knowing that? **** practicality and responsibility, and most of all, **** distance. I used to think the only thing that would make me happy were big dreams and great accomplishments, but I’ve found that a small apartment and a girl to love does more than either of those could hope to do.
I’m scared. I’m scared of leaving familiarity and safety and taking a risk. I’m scared of change. I’m scared of what I don’t know. But I think, for once, I should let my heart decide. We all want to believe we have all the time in the world, but what if we don’t? Would I regret not doing this later?
I have to let go of pain to do this. I have to let go of an ache that has become central to my being. I have to embrace happiness and let it happen to me, and stay with me. Can I do that?
I think the answer is simple, and I should have remembered this from the beginning: for her, I can do anything.
this is pretty self-explanatory. i was talking with @mollybedamned and this is the conclusion we came to. is your love worth stepping into the unknown for?
i don't know if this will even work, but i decided i should stop hesitating and start fighting for it.