I’m 21 and it’s all going to Hell. A spiritual crises, expelled from school, attempted suicide(s), the loony bin, bail, a father leaving the family, and a childhood bullied by peers and family alike. But the worst of it? My fear of love. My fear of not only opening up myself to another, but connecting with them in a consistent relationship.
Everything is a means to an end. I know this sounds Machiavellian, but it’s what my circumstances has made me. Sexual wise everything is decent. The shallow hookup every now and then keeps things somewhat normal (?). But I dream of the day when I can make love with a woman whom I find attractive AND feel emotional connection. It’s a dream.
But for now I see my life in terms of commitment. No love means no commitment. No love means more freedom. No love means I can’t disappoint the one I love. It sounds weird as I read my own words back to myself, as if they are from someone else. But they’re mine. They’re the words that swim through my mind as I clean horse stalls for minimum wage.
My family is falling apart, now more so than ever. All those words that your parents say about loving you and that “nothing is more important than family”? They’re true until they ain’t. Perhaps it’s all for the better. My sister always valued her friends above her own family. My mother is back on the dating scene, flaunting some facade to cover the face she shows at home. My father AWOL.
Nothing stays the same. The moment you commit to someone you burden yourself with two facts. One: she will depend on you and vice versa. Be it monetary or emotional in nature, you now are stuck with someone. Two: If the relationship fails, it will hurt. A lot. But that pain will never match the knowledge that you failed in some capacity or another and lost something precious.
And so we arrive to the crux of the problem: fear. I pride myself on having no fear, especially that of death. I’ve died once on an OD from drugs and saw things that have changed me forever. I know that death is nothing to be afraid of, just an unfulfilled life. Depending on my trial, I will either finish college or enlist in the French Foreign Legion. But the fear of opening and connecting (emotionally) with someone makes me stop in my own tracks.
My therapist has told me I that my childhood bestowed on me a nasty case of PTSD. Even now I can hear every person that has made me come doubt myself. But I learned how to stop listening to them. It’s just that damning damning fear of heartbreak and failure that I cannot stand. It’s that fear that makes me shy away from eye contact with anyone I find attractive. It’s that fear that makes me sick with envy at seeing happy couples in public. It’s that fear which makes me truly scared of love.
Love. The most basic of all emotions and needs. Even to me it sounds as absurd as being afraid to breath. Yet it is inescapable. So I live with a temporary solution. I try to ignore love and my fear of it. I try to rationalize it as a mere drive for procreation. I view it as a hindrance and weakness.
By doing so I don’t feel the fear as much. The loneliness is certainly there but you get used to it. Somewhat. Perhaps if I am so fortunate to live until I’m thirty I’ll settle down and REALLY try to fix this problem. I like to fantasize about being a father after having an adventurous youth. A father that can support his family and love his family. A father that would be nothing like mine.
To conclude I wish I could leave with some helpful advise. But I cannot. I am in the midst of a catastrophic point in life, so to take advise from me would be to take a gamble indeed. What I can offer though is that no matter what, never let your emotions get the best of you. Think of the outcomes and, if they are in your favored interests, proceed. But NEVER let your emotions make your decisions.
P.S.: If you’re wondering why I’m out on bail, I’ll offer a quick rundown. I got into drugs (cough syrup, alcohol, and “Spice”), died (temporarily) of an OD, came back and learned I had a soul, got into Native American spiritual medicine (mescaline, ayahuasca, etc.) and found a source of healing myself for reasons stated above, got arrested, learned from the police that my friend was making meth behind my back. These native substances (entheogens) were the closest I’ve ever come to overcoming myself of this insidious philophobia. If you choose to follow in my footsteps, I beseech you to use moderation, have a watcher, and above all keep notes about what you discover about yourself. Good luck and Godspeed to you all in your endeavors.