In the midst of a disheartening dating binge, I met someone.
It was an unforeseen gift. He reminded me how delicate people are. He reminded me how deceivingly pliable we are. He showed me that our most meaningful connections are birthed through a process of expressing complete vulnerability; and in that vulnerability, they can slip right through our fingers.
The thing is, he never showed his, but he let me show mine.
For that, I am still grateful, even as it slipped through my fingers.
I’m grateful for the reminder that each person we meet brings a different gift to us, regardless of what we actually wanted or thought we asked for. Perhaps it is not always romance that we are seeking.
I’m grateful for the reminder that when we feel safe to let people in, we let ourselves out.
We let ourselves out through the breaking seams of the layers of camouflage that have been placed over our skin by this boundless world of tough critics. Somehow, we’ve agreed to accept this exchange of masks, giving in to our fear of how we think we are being perceived.
I liked to please people. I liked to know what people were thinking of me. I liked to make assumptions. Tell me when we find an invigorating connection there.
He reminded me that I have an insatiable craving to find those people who are uninterested in our shape-shifting because they know we are not meant for shape-shifting. We do break.
I’m tired of shape-shifting. I’m tired of our perception of normalcy and how we bend to fit that mold.
I like the intensity of a connection, be it a friendship, a romance, or a brief encounter. I like affection. I like my sensitive receptivity to a feeling even when it’s perceived with questions of intention. I’ve learned we sometimes have trouble letting things just be what they are.
But I am not ashamed of how much I choose to love people or how much I choose to shower them in affection or how much or how often I choose to tell them. I will embrace that vulnerability for the love and desire of finding profound connections.
For that reason, I’ve decided I will offer no apologies for spilling my guts; to write my words in black on white, unashamed, exposing provocative color that paints a sensitive soul with unrestrained and unimaginable perspective.
I crave in someone the type of color that is defiant and unfamiliar to our conventional reality of normalcy; the kind of color perhaps delicate in appearance, but that which will always be bold and unshakable in emotion and unapologetic in its revelation.
I don’t need that color to match mine. I’d just like for mine to be known without the fear of its intensity.
I’ve been told that I’m too sensitive. I’m sensitive. It’s simple—simple as black ink on white paper. There are lots of layers buried deep within to be touched and felt and misunderstood. I find them breaking through those seams of camouflage that were once there to appease someone else’s uneasiness.
I can blame that for having felt deeply misunderstood often.
And I think maybe we all feel this way, sensitive or not. There is a discomfort that seeps through the pores in our vulnerable skin that questions what people will think of us.
I, for one, have painted in muted colors and spoken in muted words to feel understood. I relinquish this desire. I relinquish the desire to portray the thick layers of skin that have never known my body.
I relinquish this desire because sensitively vulnerable hearts cannot tolerate repression, and why should they? I like to say too much too soon and hug too much and tightly for too long. I like the magnitude of “too much.” Whose scale gets to define that?
“Too much” says our social mores are functioning to hold us in fear as to how we are perceived, further creating a chasm in our awareness of the interconnectedness between souls.
Be too much. Because you’ll find those people you’re seeking. Nourishing connections exist in all forms, so seek them in all forms.
Perhaps the reason we are often starving for a romance is our desire to feel this connection—a deep rooted longing for compassion that we deny ourselves more often than we realize. Anything to evade the looming threat of loneliness that we tend to create for ourselves.
Loneliness is born in repression and dwells in our discomfort.
We’re sometimes so afraid to get close to people, no matter the relationship. We deprive ourselves of simple nourishment. A sensitive heart believes there is deep connection and relatedness found in touch, because there is just that. It’s delicate though and too easily confused and severed by that discomfort, which is why most of us are terribly undernourished in the way of affection as adults.
I crave the people who can bear the enormity of a feeling translated through touch regardless of the type of relationship it may be or is perceived to be. Those who have compassion dripping from their hearts and don’t defend themselves when it drips all over us uncomfortably. Those who understand that there are many different connections that breathe in this life that don’t need to be defined.
I crave the people who refuse to let other people’s hands and thoughts control their heartstrings. Those who look inward when making decisions rather than left and right. Those who make those decisions in their vulnerability and never surrender in their outward defense.
I crave the people who aren’t afraid of their flaws because they’re entirely aware that the very act of speaking them is freeing. And the people who want to share them are the people who want to know ours too without agenda.
These are the people who want to help liberate our truths that we’ve buried deep beneath our protective layers. These people are easily our greatest gifts. These are the people who welcome the unknown depths of a meaningful connection.
Please give me vulnerability. It’s a place that brings me the closest to wrapping my mind around the thought that people consist of magic. It’s not easy to walk unguarded.
Exposed in black on white.
I’m learning to know my feelings in their honest vulnerability and let them be known before anyone else’s analysis. I believe in speaking them to find those unfamiliar spaces and places that cannot be muted in their vibrancy, as well as the people who reveal every color that our own eyes have never truly seen, yet crave.
I believe in speaking them because it’s who we are, and it’s the most, and best, we can give.
Author: Susan Hoboken
Editor: Lieselle Davidson