I’ve always struggled with emotion. The thought of it, hell, even just discussing it here makes me uneasy. When it comes to others, I’m great at giving advice, helping people work through their personal problems and imparting a bit of my positivity on those feeling the hardships of daily life. However, when it comes to confronting my personal problems, I choose to ignore them, and bury ’em deep. So today, I’m here to talk a bit about emotion.
Firstly, I have an amazing family. My brothers, 19, 8 and 4, have taught me more about life and love than words can express. As kids, it was just me and my brother. Our parents split early. Our mother was, and still is for that matter, an alcoholic, manipulative drug abuser. Before our dad got custody, I remember sleeping in her truck on the side of the road, her driving drunk, and the worse was the mental abuse. She was great at making you feel small, and was excellent at making you feel sorry for her. No matter what the situation, she always found a way to make it my fault. Consequently, I’ve had a lot of issues with trusting women, and men, for that matter for fear of abandonment or blame.
In 8th grade, my brother J.T. was born. Everything appeared to be normal, until he got older. He avoided eye contact, didn’t speak and had the most horrible violent outbursts. By three, he was diagnosed with Autism. At 14 years old, I wasn’t ready to take on the responsibilities associated with handling an autistic child. But hey, we do a lot for the ones we love. It started with him; the moment I grew up. I remember taking care of him, cooking, cleaning, putting him to bed, waking up with him when he would cry at night and laying next to him until he calmed down and fell back asleep. Because to him, he knew what he wanted to say, but couldn’t say it. It frustrated him just as much as it did us because we wanted to communicate with him.
I didn’t truly appreciate, or really understand life until J.T. was born. The hardships my oldest brother and I faced as kids paled in comparison. We were just too young to understand what was really happening. As my bond with J.T. grew, my outlook on life slowly changed. I appreciated more of the little things, learned patience, and took on responsibilities most people don’t until much later in life. However, there was still that nagging problem…emotion. Don’t get me wrong, I love them more than anything in this entire world, but I shut out the rest of the world and ignored my own issues choosing instead to help others as an outlet.
This brings me to my current issue: love and emotion. My senior year of high school I met a broken, beautiful soul by the name of Sara. We developed a bond quickly, as we both had dealt with our fair share of emotional trauma growing up. She made me feel like I was special, and I knew she could never hurt me. But again, there it was, that emotional issue…dinners, movies, romantic dates, poetry are all great ways of showing you care about somebody, but it isn’t a tangible form of love. As much as she loved me, I was hesitant, and fearful of letting her completely in. I shared with her some of my deepest, darkest life stories. However, those were just stories that brought me to where I am today. Telling your stories is one thing. sharing the feelings and sorrow that accompany those scars is another story.
Throughout my four years in college, Sara and I experienced a roller coaster relationship. For the first two years, Sara was still in high school struggling with the distance, and finding herself. My freshman year of college our step-mother left and moved to southern california seeking better treatment for J.T. Consequently, my brother Devon, and father were left to fend for themselves. Devon was a freshman in high school at this time, with not guidance. I was a freshman in the dorms, trying to balance school, Sara and taking care of my brother and father. It got to be emotionally tolling.
Year two rolled around, and I could feel myself slipping. I was caught up in drugs, alcohol and self-abuse. I slowly distanced myself from Sara, and my family thinking it would pass, and I could get through it on my own. Sara loved me deeply. She wanted to be there for me, help me through my problems, but I wouldn’t let her. The thought of sharing my feelings, and making myself vulnerable scared me. Not that I didn’t love her, but growing up, sharing my emotions only brought heartache, and anger. I managed to find a way to blame Sara for my shortcomings, using the excuses of “oh, you’re the troubled one, it isn’t me, it’s YOU..” or “I don’t need anybody, I have myself.” She loved me, and it wasn’t a matter of helping me get through it, it was the matter of getting through it together.
Year two was rough. For both of us. I knew I was losing myself, and her but continued down the rough path. Instead of sharing how I felt, and leaving my heart in the hands of somebody who truly cared, I destroyed it. Sara was left broken, sad and guilty for the things I was doing. It wasn’t fair. Fast forward now, year three. I slowly began getting it all together, but still felt it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t need to change. Sara started her first year of college, at Long Beach State. I remember so many nights of her crying, begging me to talk, to open up so she could help. I got angry, told her to worry about her own problems…here’s the catch: I’d always come back.
At this point, we had basically broken up. Whenever we were both home though, it went right back to the way it was. We never skipped a beat. The comfortability we have with each other is rare, something you don’t find with anybody. I was blind, angry at myself and confused. Fearful of committing to somebody who truly loved me. Year three was a blur, and we didn’t speak too much. Until that summer, of course.
Fast forward again. My final year of college. I had finally overcome the whirlwind of drugs and self-abuse. I was living with a great group of guys, and I felt stable. This is the year I truly started letting go of Sara. We spoke, but not too often. We were living our own lives, but whenever I’d drink, those thoughts would consume me. I’d call her to tell her how much I love her and needed her, only to forget the next day from being in a blacked out state. I was screwing with her head, and my own.
Now here we are, present day. July 27th, 10:51 p.m. Sara is moving on, and letting go. She’s been dating a guy for a month or so, and it wasn’t until today I realized what I could be losing. It goes far beyond the simple “I love you.” She’s my best friend, my mentor and has been by my side through everything. For the first time, I’m scared to lose her. Even if it we aren’t together, I know that it won’t be the same. I still struggle with emotion. It isn’t my strong suit..I hate hearing I’m in the wrong, and use the fact I’m selfless as a crutch to try and excuse my poor behavior. I love this girl. I have since the moment we first kissed in my car. However, to learn about yourself, and truly free your emotions, sometimes you have to let go..the old adage goes “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone” hasn’t ever been so clear.
It’s going to be a rough road ahead, but I’ll maintain positivity. I know our love is real. Something out of a fairytale. However, I’m not the man she deserves. Not yet. I’m not comfortable with myself, or my emotions. I can’t keep holding her on this puppet string, hoping she’ll always be there when it’s convenient for me. What’s meant to be, will be. I’m a firm believer in this. Our love may wane, but it’ll never fade. I’ll be awaiting the day I can confidently say “I’m ready to be yours, and just yours.” Until then, I’ll be waiting. Just know, I do love you, and always have and I’m sorry for not showing it. You deserve better.
So folks, when it comes to emotion, don’t be afraid to show it. Embrace your faults, the past and use it to make a positive impact on the present. Love knows no bounds, unless you create them yourself. If you love somebody, tell them, and make sure they feel it. Because you don’t know when that person might get up and leave after struggling to prove themselves for too long. I know that feeling, now, and it’s honestly heart wrenching.