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Love and war. I finally figured out why those two words relate.

I love. I am a person who loves. And I am a person who is loved. I think I fell in love once…I can’t be sure. I have so much love to give, I am almost over flowing with love and the desire to share it with someone, but the one time I was given the opportunity to let someone see all my love I couldn’t do it. I found myself scared and unable to trust that someone could actually love me. Rationally I knew that he cared for me and had no intention of hurting me, but emotionally and unconsciously I thought otherwise. After nine months of trying to prove to me that he loved me and wanted to be in my life, that he wanted to play an active supportive loving role in my life it disintegrated. I had sabotaged myself because I didn’t believe that someone could love me. I consistently pushed him away and blocked his attempts at breaking down my protective walls…and there are many walls that guard my heart. Too many walls.

I regret those nine months of being constantly on guard. It’s exhausting always thinking you have to guard your actions and thoughts…like being at war with yourself. I have begun to figure out why I wage war on myself whenever someone wants to see my heart. I would rather actively persuade them that I am entirely the wrong person for them after a short period of time than allow them the opportunity to hurt me. It makes sense. If I find myself attracted to someone and it is reciprocated then at first I let myself fall wondrously into the idea of being with them, or waking up next to them. I build castles in the air where I see us walking together, I call him whenever I want about the most trivial or the most important things happening in my life. I sometimes even see a dress. And then the soldiers march out. I become distant and start to avoid being alone together. I make endless excuses not to meet up. I declare war. Ostensibly on the other person, but actually it’s on myself.

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I figure that it is less painful not getting involved with someone than taking the plunge and risking it all.

For the longest time I wasn’t aware of the soldiers surrounding my heart, for every protective wall there is a battalion of soldiers ready to defend that space. I sometimes wonder if they’re not defending an empty space. That nine month gestation period romance had scared me, I blamed him for hurting me, for destroying any sense of self I thought I had. But it was me all along, it was my fear of being abandoned that had caused it to die. Not that he was blameless, but he tried so hard to make it work.

Someone left my life the day I was born. For my entire life I thought it was my fault. I built castles in the air with all of us together. My emotions were like a pendulum swinging between desperately longing for that person to want me, to acknowledge me, to want to be in my life and not wanting anything to do with them, not even wanting to believe that they were a part of me. For many years I actively refused to give this person any thought…I didn’t think they deserved airtime. I didn’t make the connection between their absence and the steady army being built to protect my heart.

Last year (2009), I met that person. I arranged a meeting, I decided it was time to acknowledge each other. At the time I thought it was the most painful thing I had ever experienced (subsequently my heart has been chipped and broken by loss, the pain is unbearable and this time there were no soldiers to protect me, this loss happened without my having any say in the matter). After that meeting I realized that I was amazing. That I had achieved so much in my life and that by not having this person in my life it was only them had that missed out. I had not let his absence destroy me. But his absence did play a role in the private army I had amassed.

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Once I had made the connection between him and the army I knew that I had the strength to begin getting rid of the army. I had taken a risk asking for the meeting and it had been the best decision I had ever made. And I had survived. I proved to myself that I am stronger than I thought I was. Which is not to say that it didn’t take its toll on me…but I survived and it made me able to see myself more clearly. It was worth the pain.

I have begun dismantling the army. I have met someone…and it is thrilling. I am scared stiff, but I am consciously making an effort not to sabotage it this time. I am taking a risk and I am enjoying the free fall. Even if it causes pain I think it will be worth it. I hope so.

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