Sabotage. It’s the title of the second chapter of Moose, only in the book, it’s written in Spanish. Three years ago I wrote the following on this blog:
I’m getting worried. I’m too used to being alone. I like taking over the entire bed. As soon as I find someone I like, I approach the intersection of insecurity and anxious. I’m happy in my own private world, with my small life and circle of friends. I’ve been so afraid of alone, for so long, that I’ve forced myself into it. When I was on the varsity soccer team, the most dreaded thing in the world was the running. Okay, running, just so you know, was invented to escape bad situations. Something wants to eat you. You run for your fcuking life. It’s not meant to be a good time in a gym with headphones okay, it’s a fcuking life raft mechanism. Fight or flight. Yeah, as simple as that. And then you find yourself a well-endowed teen– who’s embarrassed that she even has to wear a bra—having to run laps around a football field. I hated it. I’d have preferred to eat dirt, or let them stick a needle in hard-to-find veins. Asking me, a fat girl whose heart can give out upon orgasm, to run a mile, was really like asking me to give up the idea of ever having children. So, here was my take on anything painful: get it over with. Face the worst, so you won’t hate it anymore. I hit the locker room early, shin guards, knee socks, chapstick, and ponytail. I was ready for the run. I would get a head start so I could finish with everyone else. I faced the worst of it, and eventually, I became okay at it. I became comfortable with it. It’s happening now. I’m running my life, in such a safe, meticulous way, having learned from everything, playing it safe. And the problem is, I’ve left her behind. The passionate one, the one who’s messy and full of heart, the one who doesn’t run. I miss the me who dives, who’s messy. And lately, I’ve been reaching out to her.
Today, in a hair salon, I checked the horoscopes (which I never do—no really, I don’t. It’s all crap). I still don’t believe in any of it. The point is, I didn’t just check mine. I found myself checking his horoscope. I found myself leaving and finding refuge in Victoria’s Secret for something that matched. Who am I? I’m all of a sudden this girl, some teenage girl with gum and a locker, with shin guards. Fuck. How did I get back to this juvenile place? It’s enervating.
Here’s the thing: I genuinely believe blessings come to our lives when we’re open to receive them. And being open, means being vulnerable. A good home is an open vulnerable one, open to strangers and stories, and to the uncertainty of life. It’s hard when we live in such a cautious time, when we don’t just bolt, we slide chains over our lives. We’re very worried. My heart has a chain-lock door, the kind you can only release from the inside. And, I’m trying it now. But I’ve gotten so used to things, the way they are, set in my ways, in my safe one bedroom life. But, shit, do I really want to get comfortable here? I mean, I was terrified of alone for a long time, but now that I’ve faced it, it’s become more comfortable than “together.” See “together” becomes ‘tragic.’ It becomes, “Shit, I’m sorry. Are you okay?” And I don’t need that anxiety or heartbreak again. It’s easier being me and the dog and the bad dates. It’s easier when things are light, and nothing is at risk. But, I’ll tell you one thing, from a girl who has been on both sides of that… there’s nothing like a messy life. There’s nothing like passion and feeling alive. Sometimes it’s reckless; other times it’s the timing is bad. But when it lasts, it is what will keep you from ever really enjoying “safe.”
Life, I imagine, is filled with struggles over more than who hogs the covers. It’s bloodshed, in-laws, heartbreak, embarrassment, lust, guilt, and The Gypsy Kings. It’s Pina Coladas, extra towels, sex in the middle of the afternoon, flip flops and calluses you wish you didn’t have.
Just as I became comfortable with running, with the one thing I hated more than tuna fish out of a can, I became more comfortable with alone than with “us.” And whenever “us” is a possibility, I sabotage it. I’m afraid of the one thing I want more than well done fries. I’m afraid of the one thing I actually want more than anything. It makes me sad.
It’s all about balance, I suppose. Three quarters of the battle is knowing you can’t control anything but your reactions to things. The other bit is timing. Magic and fate is a sprinkle in there somewhere, at a bar where they make your Caesar salad in front of you in a wooden bowl with some Mexicans serenading you with their guitars and Guantanamera renditions. Man, that’s life, with your hair braided, flip-flops, and drunk with the people who make you smile just from thinking of them. I want that life again. It’s worth the vulnerable heartbreak; worth the, “I can’t get up to shower” type of depression. Mostly because I rarely shower anyway.
Today, three years later, I realize what really scared me then: losing myself. Compromise (something I still HATE to do). Giving in too often or too much. I’m still working on that one. It isn’t only an open, vulnerable home, that allows us to lead rich lives. It’s an open mind to change, without sabotaging it all with a "that’s just who I am, so deal."