The screen a bright white contrast in her darkened bedroom.
Staring. Feeling. Reaching inside to sort out the myriad of tumbling emotions coursing through her.
She had carefully constructed herself years ago. Inside her heart and mind were categories and boxes where she kept her dreams, her emotions, her weirdness, and her people.
Everyone she met she quickly sized up, determined who they were, and found a box for them and put them under a category in her mind and/or her heart. Sometimes people changed so she would move them around, but she always found a place for them.
It was easy that way. She knew what to expect from their behavior.
He acted this way because he was in the friend category, but he was also in the dumbass box, so it was to be expected when he did dumbass things.
She acted this way because she was in the family category, but she was also in a crazy box so her antics made sense.
She liked her inner world to be neatly organized with little to no chance of any messy feelings.
She liked this because her reality was anything but controlled and organized.
It hadn’t been for a while.
She had relinquished control of her boundaries in many relationships, but it was okay because she expected that, because she had also placed her relationships in a box.
Except they weren’t labeled poison or toxic. They were mislabeled love and family.
Then something unexpected happened.
She met someone who couldn’t be put into any box. He skipped around categories, but there was no box for him. It was his own fault, really. He was complex, but relatable. He was as smart as he was dumb. He was as tough as he was gentle. His traits contradicted themselves to form a truly beautiful jumble of organized chaos that made sense if you didn’t think about it too hard.
Which of course she tried.
But she decided to try something new. She decided to let him run around her mind all helter-skelter. And she learned something. That when she put people in boxes she limited how involved they were in her life. She limited their personalities. She underestimated their value in her life.
And while she wasn’t ready to free all the boxes in her mind, she took what seemed like a risk to her and left him to roam free.
Doing so was thrilling and terrifying. What if he got into things in her mind that were locked away?
Worse yet, what if he got into her heart and saw things there she didn’t show anyone?
And though she wasn’t broken, she was bruised. She was weary and lost.
She didn’t know what he was, but she rose to the challenge to allow raw, open, and honest communication with another soul.
She knew he could see things in her life that even she couldn’t, and with each passing day she learned to trust his words, because his actions matched them.
The more she did this the more she expanded her mind and heart to herself. And in doing so she let him in a little more every time, without losing herself at all.
Without losing herself at all.
She let that sink in.
For the first time love didn’t mean giving up who she was.
Love didn’t mean sacrificing everything for someone else’s happiness.
Love meant freedom.
Freedom to grow and laugh and change and just be.
Without losing herself at all she was able to let someone in.
And she flourished. She grew. She made mistakes. She was allowed those mistakes.
The light started to come back in her eyes.
She learned that she had the power to choose who she shared herself with. She remembered that the definition of sharing doesn’t mean giving over a possession for good. She was still in possession of herself, but she found empowerment to share herself with anyone she chose.
And so she chose him, not for keeps, because humans aren’t meant to be owned for keeps.
But she chose him to be the person she stayed honest with, no matter what. Because he didn’t hold her humanity against her.
Blinking cursor. Bright screen.
Time has passed.
She wants a box to put him in but at the same time she doesn’t.
Her heart feels messy. She didn’t shy away from feelings like she used to in the past, but she had a methodical process she used to deal with them. She worked through them and filed them away.
But these feelings can’t be filed away. They are the result of freedom to love. You can’t file away free flying feelings. She knows this because she tries from time to time, to no avail.
She wants to live in the moment. She wants to be present for her own life. She is deeply appreciative for the value he has brought to her life, and knows that no matter what, if someday they drift away, she knows this friendship is life changing.
She knows it’s life changing because for once there wasn’t a box.
She didn’t limit him, and by not limiting him she allowed a connection like she had never had before. If she puts him in a box she might lose the fear, but she would lose that connection.
Blinking cursor again.
But this time it’s okay.
Through her writing she has found the peace.
She loves and is loved without losing herself.
That realization is all she needed tonight.