May 9, 2018

LOVE WEEK: What It Means to be Soft

Not an open wound, just open 


You find out a lot about yourself after your first real heartbreak. I learned so much about myself that I hardly can recall who I was before it happened. In the almost 4 years since, I find myself sort of like a new friend. I live in a different city, I've met all sorts of people, I have a career, and I'm still learning more. One of the things I've discovered about my new friend (lol, me) is something I didn't have words for until I rediscovered this poem by Nayyirah Waheed: I am a brutally soft woman. That's it. One affecting line.

Reading those words put together a puzzle of old tears, regret, worries, and turned it into something that made sense. Post-heartbreak, I've felt too much. My anger made me feel like I needed to be a cold, detached skeptic, but I could not be those things no matter how hard I tried (and I did try). Instead, I was made soft. Once I saw how hard things could get for us out here in the world, all I wanted was to be a more compassionate person. I wanted to be the good I needed, and I thought that in doing this, I would attract the same.

"There was no world where he and I could exist together because he saw my softness as an opportunity, and not as a freedom to soften himself."

But that's not how it happened. I didn't realize that softness was something to make a joke out of, and worse, to be taken advantage of.  I tried to love a man who, by mocking my softness and learning to play with it, created a bitter woman out of me. His presence alone immediately put me on edge, and I never understood why. I thought something was wrong with me, but my intuition or some deeper knowledge had just caught on before I did: there was no world where he and I could exist together because he saw my softness as an opportunity, and not as a freedom to soften himself.

I will not crumble if pushed, I will not break if disappointed. I am no one's sad, heartbroken girl, but I refuse to harden. I will not play the "who-can-act-like-they-care less" game. It's a shitty game that stops people from actually making any real connection. I am not made to be hard, and I won't spend any more of my life around people who cause me to put up armor. I don't want to protect myself—I want to be around people who I don't need protection from. I like myself soft and exposed.


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