Monday, July 23, 2012

On Loving and Leaving

A long time personal fact that I simply accept: I have been wrought by genetics and life experiences to have scaling walls of inaccessibility. My newly "official" boyfriend knows this well from the past months he has patiently spent watching me dive in and out of his grasp based on my mental state of mind, but never my feelings for him. After a perfect alignment of influences only the quirkiness of life could orchestrate, I have for the first time realized I want people to flow in and out of my life with the same intensity I let places flow through me.

Ever the traveler and nature lover, in October of 2011 I decided to fully buy into the escapist lifestyle.  I easily committed my mind, heart and body to the grueling feat of hiking 2,181 miles over the 14 states that make up the Appalachian Trail. This means leaving the only home I've ever known and all the friends and family I have. All of this is given up daily as I work toward my goal and on that Fall day I gave it up nearly without thinking, instantly grabbing onto the idea as it popped into my head. Why, then, did it take me months of deliberation and hearty efforts at fooling myself about my feeling to make myself take a chance on a boy who has captured my heart? To let him in seemed a more treacherous trial which I feared more than 6 months of living alone in the wild. My default setting is to flee from the closeness of others and keep tight reigns on any unruly emotions that do dare to arise in me. This characteristic is often met with the soft berating of more open hearts reminding me of the optimists' most idyllic clichĂ©, "It is better to have loved and to have lost than to have never loved at all." This Hallmark money maker creates a deep sickness that grows in the center of my gut when I hear it, not only because of its utter fool-hearted cuteness, but because, I fear, more than love itself, that it is true.

This is one of man's greatest uses of fear: to be able to stack them against each other, see which looks as if it will hurt your life the most, and hinder you from living the way you've always believed you would. I have laid my fears side by side and watched as they trailed off in the distance. For the first time, I have seen the paths they create for me. So I am mounting up on this greater fear, using it as a vehicle to either tear down the walls around my heart or to swoop down out of the sky and rescue my heart, taking it to more fertile land.

I have a lot of questions in this endeavor: Am I setting myself up for a hard beginning of the trail as I leave behind a boy I've come to love between now and then? Will the stresses of life, his two jobs, my one job and last semester of college, pull us apart and render this all for not? Maybe, most namely, will I eventually decide that this path of the loving optimist is not for me and go back to responding to its romantic motto with the same pessimistic quip I have for years: "Easier said than done."? These are, of course, only questions time can answer. And I am sure it will.

As for now, I have a boy who can some how over look the glaring hang ups that render me low on the "ideal mate" ladder and a dream that keeps me crushing out the miles in 67% humidity on 92˚ days.

Here comes a rambling tale about love and leg work.

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