You have a crush on someone. You fantasize about the way they say your name, the way it lingers on their lips and the curve of their tongue. You think of silly ways to bump into them. You count the moments you spend together. Every word is a story; every pause is a space to drop your coat and bask in them.
You create a version of them that is so complete and full that it’s impossible to realize that it’s not them until you are confronted with two people with mirrored faces.
And then small reasons crop up. They’re too good-looking. They’re too good. They’re too nosy. They eat in a weird way. You stop yourself from leaping. You retreat. You pick people that you don’t have to leap for.
You pick people that come with instruction manuals and lists of reasons why they can’t love you. They’re tens and you’re sevens, and you’re bad at math. It’s a fraction that won’t balance. It’s them too smart and you too dumb. It’s them too goody and you too damaged. It’s them fractious and you whole. It’s a litany. It’s a memoir of reasons and buts and if only and when and then you’re alone in your room and you’re breathing a sigh of relief for having avoided the chasm and that deep descent.
You pick people who have reasons baked into them, so that when it falls apart and they can’t commit and you can’t leap, you are able to validate what you felt all along. You are not enough. You are not good enough at math to bridge that gap. Sevens are prime; they cannot fit with anything. They are the lowest. Tens are whole and bendy and bouncy. Sevens are prickly. Sevens are unlovable. Sevens are sharp.
You pick people that are mountains, and you try to scale them in flip-flops. You set yourself up to fail, and when you’re lying at the bottom of the mountain nursing the bloody smiley scrapes on your arms, you bask in the pain. You bask in the safe comfort of knowing that you are fractious. That you are a bomb with no pin.
I have no answer. I don’t know why we—me—pick people that come with bibles of reasons. Holy, unanswerable, unmovable reasons. I don’t know why we are programmed to self-destruct. I’m sure if I had a few hours on a couch in the click of a therapist, I could figure it out. I don’t know why we crave dysfunction, pain, negative validation. I don’t know why we—me—crave the inverse, crave the dark, crave the fall. But I know that there is something satisfying in the fall. In the pain. It is finite. It is common. It is known. It ends and it begins in cycle, but it ends. For a while.
You need to pick people who don’t come with reasons. Who are void of self-destruction manuals. Pick people that are grossly ready for you. Pick people who are unassuming and prime numbers. Pick tens who are grounded. Fuck math. Math never got you anywhere. Leap into primes and fractions and fuck everything and everyone that tells you that some things will never add up.
But you need to stop trying to scale mountains in flip-flops. Because you’re better than the fall. You’re better than blood and scrapes. You need to believe that. Because until you do, you’ll be stuck picking defective relationships. You’ll be stuck in a cycle of negative validation, swirling until you’re too fucked up to function.
Pick people that smile at you slipping. Pick people that make you feel comfortable enough to eat in front of. Pick people who don’t make you collect words in your mouth like marbles. Pick people that make the words fall out onto sun-warmed stone. Be sun-warmed stone. Be soft. Be mutable. Be fluid. Pick yourself up. Pick yourself flowers. Pick yourself.
Stop picking pain over pleasure. Stop picking the finite of your own fucked-up-ness. Stop stopping yourself. Leap. Fly. Fall. But do it for someone who has the capacity to leap too. I don’t know how to see that person. I’m fucked up. But I can hope that one day I won’t see the reasons not and start seeing the green lights. I can hope that one day we can figure it out and not wish for the fall and the pain.
That’s the hope.