A COMMUNAL EXPERIMENT IN SELF CURATION

a Soul Project

archival : some initial attempts at communication :

To Anthony:

I care about you more than I expected I would,
but I pray you don't get scared off by my feelings before letting me explain them.
I have held true to my claim that I DON'T possess you.
You are not mine to direct, to judge, or to own.
You are your own person capable of making your own decisions,
and responsible or reckless, astute or naive,
I will support you without judgment (and often with companionable amusement).
In essence, I'm here for you even if you don't need me,
though with all of my soul you know I hope to be able to help,
because I feel your hurts and frustrations irregardless.
I will love you even if you do not love me.
Unconditional love may seem a cliche, but it is a true and tried concept,
one I can say with all honesty that I feel for you with some depth,
because you have been a true friend to me and because I have seen some of your heart.

However, though my love and affections are given without conditions,
My heart and its strings are still very vulnerable.
My heart knows what reciprocation feels like.
My heart feels that clench and pull when you see into me and stand firmly by.
My heart nearly jumps into my throat when you grace me with even the slightest affection.
Subsequently, my heart can also feel your distance,
and often times, being little more than the heart of a girl,
it has a hard time differentiating between old fears
of pain and loss and new people it can trust.
This young heart is still adjusting.
It has, I can now admit,
been profoundly emotionally abused in childhood and adolescence.
It is doing its best to heal, but healing is a long, difficult process
that requires understanding, compassion and patience
from others of importance and from the healing party themselves.
As I heal, I struggle with giving my heart the things it needs,
and it struggles back against the bonds of my current inadequacies.
But of greater importance than the fact that it is yet unfinished,
it is the fact that the process of healing is in progress that is important.

I will say that I do not believe that my heart,
fearful and anxious, was born this way.
I cannot believe any of us are born with a full set of emotional scars,
but instead I believe that we acquire them through our experiences,
and most profoundly via the environment and treatment we receive during early childhood.
I can say that I come from a family with spousal abuse.
I can say that though I had a father that loved and nurtured me
much like I have come to love and care for others today,
he wasn't nearby for chunks of my childhood
and his absence may have left a certain unfulfilled yearning.
I can say that my mother abused me emotionally and warped my trust in people's intentions,
so that I have trouble trusting verbal affirmations and assurances people give me.
I am, however, my own person.
I am now an adult, and I am strong, capable and confident in many ways others might not be.

All of this is a window into the person that makes up ME.
I am fully aware that I, like a lot of people, carry baggage.
But because of my feelings for you,
because I admire you (you beautiful, imperfect human being, you),
the last thing I'd ever want was for my own humanity to scare you away,
for present me to be too much for you, for anyone.
More than anything else, I do not expect you to be responsible for me or my baggage.
I do not expect you to carry it.
I do not want you to carry it.
I am not loooking for attention or sympathy,
I am not looking for a reaction.

If I have any intention with this letter it is to finally open up,
to stop being afraid of if you'll accept the person I keep beyond the window of myself.
I am generally afraid, and there are select few people I am completely unafraid with.
I have been shaped by experience,
and I accept that and work on changing it every single day,
but must acknowledge that it changes slowly.

But of course, no one can truly go through any sort of healing entirely alone.
I have found friends of late in people I am still
getting to know and learning to put my trust in.
You might wonder why our relationship is proving so chaotic so quickly,
but it is because you are an important element in my new life,
and because you have bestowed upon me your own words
of deep friendship and importance.,
I take friendship, kinship of any kind really, quite fiercely serious.

// Later, written in my notebook:

We both have tendencies that will inevitably conflict.
I am prepared for this,
I embrace this.
My tendency is to need contact, to need assurance.
Your tendency is to withdraw, to grow distant within yourself.
My tendency is to panic.
Your tendency is to trample.
I accept the tendencies, bad habits and annoyances that come along with you.
I accept you.
I want to be close and learn all that is you.
Can you see that?
Can you feel my acceptance of you,
my love for you without conditions of changing?

I ask you to give me the chance to show you how beautiful it feels
to be totally and completely accepted.

You pushed your way towards me.
You broke down my barriers,
and I never asked you to.

And now, you expect me to "relax" when you hide your affection and feelings?
You expect that to be easy for me with no clarification?
Well it isn't. It shouldn't.
You led me here.
I will admit I followed willingly,
but you led me here.
I ask for your compassion and understanding as a friend.
Now, please decide whether to let me in.

You called me a best friend.
On my behalf, yes, I'm sorry,
I panic when I sense rejection.
I go down a dark road when I feel you creating sudden distance.
But, I thought you were going to be there for me too.
Am I mistaken, that's what friends do?
I struggle to lower my expectations of friendship,
to be the kind of person who would willingly give less and less
and still call it caring.

I ask you, as the other person,
to not give out any gifts you aren't willing to accept returned.
If you call me your best friend you better expect me to rise to the title.
And now that you've given me so much,
now that you've led us here,
I balk at your unexpected removal.
You moved towards me for a reason.
Why did you insist on getting closer to me,
Even when I warned you how afraid that made me?
What did you see that you didn't give up on,
That you pushed towards?
You must have felt something that moved you here.
I ask you not to disregard it.
In fact, I challenge you to turn back to embrace it.