When I first met him, I could see the pain swimming in the depths of his pastel green eyes.
Those same, widened eyes would always look at me in awe. I could feel his longing to be held and to have someone to hold. It was overwhelming.
His inability to blink when he stared directly into my oak brown eyes made me feel apprehensive—a feeling at the bottom of my abdomen telling me to run, but the curiosity in my mind was whispering to stay.
“Give him a chance,” she said. And I obeyed.
My body felt tight and my tongue tasted bitter, but I ignored the sensations and observed his strange presence.
He was different.
But he was also the same. He agreed with my every thought. He had a way of slipping minor details of my own unique interests into our conversations as if they were his own, and I became amazed.
The similarities were uncanny. They were as if he knew who I was before we met. I remember feeling concerned, but I decided to romanticize his questionable likeness.
I could feel in my body there was something unusual happening, but I, too, craved the connection he was so desperately trying to create.
My body knew that I was unsafe. I could hear her starting to yell, but I selfishly enjoyed the way he praised me. He made me feel important. Every time he gazed at me, I’d feel a spike in worth swirled together with unease like a chocolate and vanilla soft serve.
But the chocolate seemed to melt into the vanilla and I forgot the vanilla was there. I decided to tell myself the fear was irrational and I should just enjoy the yummy part of the cone. I licked the chocolate in a spiral, avoiding the vanilla meticulously until all that was left was the truth.
Finally, I could see.
The relationship was not safe. I had never felt so bound by anyone, especially after only knowing him for two weeks.
I communicated my concern while he tied my thoughts into a knot and convinced me there was more chocolate.
My heart could feel his pain and I decided to be easy. My intuition was now screaming, but I decided to sacrifice myself to prevent his heart from aching.
My mind, again, was whispering, “But maybe your body is wrong.”
And so I gave him a second chance. I said, “Fine, we can still play, but here are my boundaries…”
And forward we moved.
Eventually, the taste in my mouth became unbearable. I could tell he smelled the bitterness of my breath by the way he latched on. His latching was alarming, so I finally decided to break free. He held my hand and sobbed his goodbye, then I drove away in relief.
But for some reason, I did not feel free. I pushed the feeling aside and praised myself for finally listening—a practice I am continually learning.
The feeling of being bound became heightened. I could feel he was there.
Everywhere I went I could feel him.
I felt like a lost possession he was constantly trying to find.
Every creak from the floorboards in the apartment above mine made me twitch.
The hint of his presence carved into the tree outside my home was disturbing.
His ways of impersonating me were violating.
The paranoia became debilitating. The life began to drain out of my eyes like the baths I used to call self-care. The tub became a womb used to protect me from the outside world, but even that couldn’t make me feel safe.
Eventually, I had to get the cops involved.
It is a privilege to feel like getting the cops involved would make me feel safe. For many people, that is not the case.
I’m terrified he’ll read this. Chances are, he will.
But I’m here because this story taught me something important: it is safe to trust what our bodies are telling us even if that means making someone feel uncomfortable.
I can’t even begin to count how many times in my life I’ve ignored my intuition for the sake of making someone else feel comfortable. Our intuition can become so easily masked by our obsession with making others feel comfortable—by our obsession with constantly pleasing. As a result, we put ourselves in precarious situations.
Although our minds can easily be manipulated, our bodies are grounded vessels that provide us with the truth.
It is so important to always tune in to what our bodies want us to know. The physical ailments we experience could purely be physical, but what if they’re not?
What if there is more to the pain? The discomfort? The aching?
This experience was also a reminder of how dangerously delicious it tastes to be desired—that the feeling of being wanted is powerful enough to mask the red flags waving right in front of our faces.
But we have all the tools within us to allow ourselves to see clearly, and I get that it’s f*cking hard to even take those tools out, but the longer we wait, the more work we’ll have to do.
This life has been a learning process—especially of what it means to be a woman.
But I’m grateful for what’s made me stronger, wiser, and resilient.