We all fear being unlovable, right? I know I do. I don’t fear people thinking I’m dumb or stupid. I don’t fear being thought of as ugly. I don’t even fear being disliked or being seen as socially awkward.
I know what I am. I know that I’m ridiculously smart, I’m good at my job, I have good friends, I’m average in looks, my body is rather fit, and I’m painfully awkward in social situations where I don’t control the parameters. All of those things I am aware of and have made my peace with.
But loving and being loved — oh, that’s my Achilles heel, my blind spot. That’s what keeps me up at night. I am frightened, to my core, that I will wake up 20 years from now and all I’ll have to show for my 50 years on this earth are empty houses and cars, man-made trinkets and cash, but there will be no loving partner, no family, nothing that will keep my heart warm.
I am a complete person by myself; I’m happy with that. But there is nothing wrong in wanting more (not needing).
I miss the touch of another human being. I only notice that, this missing, on and off, mostly when I have the free time and mental space to recognize it.
No one touches me. It’s practically verboten in the workplace, so I suppose that acceptable, but at home? Not even there. My family is not physically demonstrative, never has been or will be. My friends are…my friends. We bear hug (under the influence), toss an arm around the shoulder in a ‘manly’ sort of way, but we don’t touch. Not softly.
While I do remember, most specifically and exquisitely, the last time someone touched my face, it is a painful thing and I’d prefer not to dwell. It opens up, widens, the hole of loss that I’m acutely aware of every moment my eyes are open.
But prior to that? Months, maybe more than a year? Imagine going 365 days without someone touching your face with real intimacy. Holding your hand, drawing you close, stroking the back of your neck, or tracing the curve of your ear with the quiet wonder that you are theirs, and theirs alone, and you knowing that and giving that, openly and honestly?
Imagine 365 days. That’s a lot of hours. That’s a lot of time. That is a lot of loss — it is a lot to bear and I do bear it every single day and counting.
My father has a saying: “The world ain’t level.” And, he’s right. It isn’t level and some people starve as others gorge. Some people can’t catch a break while others have all the luck. Even worse, some just exist, day in, day out, knowing no great loss or not great gains; just in neutral, idling along on a glide, just…there.
My experience is neither unique or extreme. If I made an effort to reach out, to search, I’m certain I could find 10, 20, 1,000, maybe 100,000, at least, going through the same experience. Probably in my same city, in my same microcosm of the globe.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m experiencing this and it doesn’t put someone’s hand in mine, it doesn’t cover over my loss, it doesn’t replace my wanting.
The world ain’t level; I’m sliding down.