When I was younger, I fell in love far too easily. I was one of those idiot shy-when-it-comes-to-girls boys that frequently mistook kindness for interest. It took a handful of heart-crushing rejections to learn that lesson. The lesson was hard and it buried itself deep within me. It carved itself in stone.
One of the problems that I’ve always had when it came to women is that I don’t just see who they are… I see their heart, their dreams, and who they could be. Seeing this way can be painful at times when you encounter someone. You see traces of who they were and the present version of themselves. You see what they will be if left alone and what they would have been if not for the effects of the past.
When you encounter someone and read the history… you see the parts that are strong and the parts that have been weathered and worn by the erosion of life. You see the parts that have been carved out of their hearts, leaving gaps and holes. You see the scars left by the healing process and which ones were the result of natural full healing and what was quickly patched together with tape and cloth. You see which wounds still bleed, too deep to heal on their own.
I know better than to try to be a shining knight. I lost that pseudo-altruistic notion back in my youth when I realized I was doing it for myself instead of for them. It took years of self-hatred and loathing at my own impure desires to rip that out of me. What emerged from the process was a different person. I tend to see more beauty in people, even when they themselves do not. The paths that people take are often fascinating, especially the choices they make at critical junctions. Sometimes they make the “right” and “best” choice. Sometimes they make the choice that leads to hard lessons. Sometimes they miss the lessons to be learned. In any case, everyone is the accumulation of everything they have ever felt, done, believed, loved, and lost. People are beautiful like that.
The me that emerged from the process was one that could see the then, the now, the will be, and the could be. I became someone who restored people. I don’t know why. Probably because I felt that if I could see it and do something about it, that I had to. I also wanted to. I don’t know why. It just felt right. You can call it restoration. You can call it refurbishing. You can call it patching up the wounds. It wasn’t about me, yet I would hurt when they would hurt and I would smile when I saw the damaged parts restored as good or better than new. I would smile when I saw the future path steering towards a happier outcome.
As I got older, I never again mistook kindness as interest. I avoided being swept away by women with awesome charisma and I learned to merely appreciate and respect how amazing that was without trying to love it. I began to pursue love by gauging if someone had the capacity to love me. The truth of it was is that most did not. To choose me was to settle. I didn’t want to be the one that tied someone down to a lifetime of mediocre equilibrium and regrets of what might have been. This realization eroded me away and certain parts of me died inside.
It also forced me to get stronger. It forced me to get better. The pursuit of evolving was an obsession. I of course continued to fail. I wasn’t good enough to overcome my shortcomings. I didn’t know if I ever would be, but I plowed on on the blind faith that there had to be a point where this was possible. I didn’t know that for sure, I just had to keep believing. If I had let myself lose that belief, I would be dead right now.
I see how different my perspective is from so many. I have never experienced the “wrong kind of attention” to leave me jaded. I have never had the relentless pursuit of others that caused me to stop trusting words. I have never been swept away in the moment only to learn later that I was used and deceived. I can’t tell if this makes me lucky or not.
I have known so many people who hesitate to love. They fight against it, finding the feelings creeping into their heart and bypassing their armor disturbing and uncomfortable. They get scared because the emotions are not within their control. They struggle and and battle as their heart fights their rational mind and the painful lessons it has learned. I have known too many people who had given up on love. Given up on trust. Given up that their hopes and dreams can remain intact. That kind of thing makes me ache when I see it. If I had given up, I would be dead right now.
Eventually someone found me. Someone with the capacity to love me saw me. They saw what I was and they chose me. I remember that my heart exploded that day. All the emotions I had bottled up rose to the surface. I was able to just finally be. By then I had learned not to hesitate. I had learned to hold nothing back. I had learned to throw all of myself into it because it was the only place in the world that I wanted to be. I gave love freely because it’s a bottomless resource that will never run out. I also felt it would be foolish to hold anything back as it would eventually lead to regret.
Eventually I lost them but their existence gave me proof that someone like them could exist. It was no longer like hunting Big Foot. This was no longer just a mythical creature whose existence I believed in on blind faith.
One of the advantages to being short and ugly is that I have absolute faith in the person that chooses me. No one would ever pick me at random. We always have history. There’s always a process where I feel them digging into me and discovering all of the parts that are me. When they find what they were looking for below the surface, I know what they want is true. This gives me the confidence to charge in full bore and love with all that I am. I have been called brave for doing this but I never view it as bravery. I see it as the only way I know how. It is the accumulation of experiences that makes me who I am. It is the person that I am. It is what I do.