adventure · change · courage · fear · hope · isolation · love · recovery · relationships · risk · romance · safety · terror · trying

Changing Underpants

“It’s like he really likes me & I’m not running from
it,” is what I wrote in my journal this morning.
In fact, on Wednesday, I’ll be heading toward it, at 500 miles per hour.
I have my heels dug firmly into the ground below the plane
that will carry me there, and I have compassion for the terror and fear that
insists I stay in my cozy isolation.
It reminded me of a story I’d written in college (A Perverse Act of Gentility), although now,
many of the details have changed. Most importantly, the part where I’m actually attracted
to him, and that he’s never fallen into the deathly “friend zone.”
But, the final sentence of that story, about having
humiliation and disgust for someone who “held me like an angel” — that’s what
sparked the memory this morning. That I anticipate being held in the same way by the Boston Cupcake, but I that anticipate feeling in polar opposite to
how I did then. In fact, that I
already do.
The number of years I’ve spent avoiding true connection is vast. I’ve written extensively here about hiding from, running from, being
suspicious of love, but if you’re new to reading me, trust me: Intimacy … 
Well, here’s the vicious Catch-22 I’ve found myself in for
as many years:
I am terrified of being loved; and it is also the absolute
thing I hope most to be. It is where I know healing, change, elevation, joy, enlightenment, growth, revelation, and alchemy will occur. 
So, there is something different this time (no matter what
the “outcome”) with the Cupcake: I am
actually heading toward it. I’m not listening (wholly) to the fear. And, I feel
different. “Even in my underpants, I feel different,” to quote Elizabeth
Gilbert.
But, less in my underwear (though, yes…), and more in my chest cavity, in my guts, I feel different. At the same time that I have this electric fence
around my whole body, I have a magnet within it too. And one is fading.
I want to be loved
more than I want to hide, and I can feel the shift. I can feel tectonic plates,
long-ago formed in the tundra and tumult of my creation, beginning to ease. A
slight release in the tightness of my guts, and mostly, an excitement. Not just
the titillation and anticipation of getting to spend time with someone I really
like, but also, the opening of a door that for so long hung a sign that said,
Do Not Enter: Radioactive Waste.
Years ago, I wrote a poem about a dusty “Back in Five
Minutes” sign on the massive-shipping container that is my heart. About
brushing the caked dirt off it, but not needing to open it then, just being content
to know that it’s there, “secure, intact, existent.”
I think some of what is occurring is that I am finally opening up
that shipping container, and taking a look inside. That I’m allowing the door
to be open for a few minutes at a time. That I’m allowing myself to
dream about what it would be like to unpack it all, to discard the fallacies,
and engage and indulge in the luxuries.
Moreover, I’m letting myself do more than just dream about it,
and I think that’s where the true change is occurring. I am heading over a continent, through years of
flirtation, through a lifetime of resistance, toward possibility. There is a
willingness to step into the unknown that hasn’t been there before, and after the willingness is actual
action. Call it
cancer, call it recovery, call it straight-up flouting of boredom and
stagnancy.
I still am terrified, I know that. But I also feel
different. In my ribcage and in my underpants, I feel different. 

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