Home > Uncategorized > the harsh magic of someone else’s carelessness

the harsh magic of someone else’s carelessness

The thing people probably notice about me first is my hair. It’s vaguely Medusa-like. It has a mind of its own. I let it do what it wants. But it’s a feature I like and am pretty proud of, despite it simply being genetics.

Hair people get. But the kindness is another matter.

I had a friend in college later confess that she initially thought it was an act. I’ve had people mistake my kindness for weakness. There are other still who often just…don’t know what to do with it. But it is, absolutely and without question, part of who I am.

I’ve done a lot of thinking these past few months. Long discussions with friends about things I don’t talk about very often. It’s easier to carry certain scars in secret, rather than show them off like tattoos. From a certain angle, you could argue that they’re pretty. But the truth is, I am not who I am because I have not been hurt. I am who I am because I’ve been brought to my knees by grief. I’ve cried on the bathroom floor until I couldn’t breathe. I’ve had my heart cracked in half and set on fire—and there was a handful of months where I didn’t know if I would recover from one particular instance, years ago. I felt hollow. It was like you could hear the ocean through my soul.

“She has known sorrow, and it has made her kind.” (Nathan Filer, I think.) If you ask me, that is who I am. I would genuinely rather light myself on fire and hurl myself off a cliff before I hurt someone I care about it. It’s dramatic, sure, but true. Eventually, I got out of that soul-dark place. But I wasn’t sure I could. And I sure as hell wasn’t certain if I could ever put myself in that position again.

Being vulnerable is hard. Because hurts get compounded over time, and it’s easy to panic. I’ve panicked more than a time or twelve. Hell, I’ve been afraid of my own stupid heart, because it’s stubborn, even when it’s frightened. And I’ve been scared a whole of a lot that doesn’t always make outward sense. Human-ing is hard. Anyone who tells you differently is probably a robot. But it’s okay to be scared. It’s human to be afraid.

I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent arguing with my own feelings, and this is even in friendships. But I also know that I am who I am—a million emotions when five would probably do—and I have mostly made peace with that. Some people wonder if they’re enough. I worry that I am too much, because wheeeeeeew, I have been that for people before. And it’s…eviscerating.

But like I said recently on Twitter, no one in the whole history of my life has succeeded in changing me—in making me less of who I am. Some people fold in on themselves after a heartbreak. And that’s valid. I understand it, even if it’s not necessary how I function in the long term.

When it comes down to deciding something, I don’t run. I don’t give less because giving can be hard. I don’t care less simply because something is complicated. And I don’t balk because something might be challenging. I have walked through fire and lived. I have moved mountains for those privy to my affections. I am kind, and I am fierce. And you won’t find my equal anywhere.

It’s funny how I can know that and still be wildly insecure. Not because I truly have a low opinion of myself, but because of the harsh magic of someone else’s carelessness. I am not without bad moments. I will almost always interrogate myself for blame or error, wondering if I’ve spoken words I shouldn’t.

“You always do that. You always bring feelings into it.”

Yes, I do. Because feelings are important, and I set my life by that clock more than any other. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s honest. And I’m not afraid of the specter that something might not work out. Everything in life is a gamble, but it’s absolutely worth taking. And I say that as a person who lives her life with softness (unless you hurt someone I care about, then definitely run).

In retrospect, I survived a lot of things I shouldn’t have. But I will never turn my back on someone I care about, not even when it’s hard. (Especially not then, because working through the hard bits counts for a lot.) I do not believe in perfection. But show me a messy heart and a raw truth, and I will honor that. Because of all the things damaged and made frail, through all the years of chaos, my kindness and fathomless capacity for caring are not among the wreckage.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 26, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    If being “too much” and “getting emotions involved” are wrong, there are a lot worse ways to be wrong!

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