I have an irrational fear of love and here's why.
I am a statistic in more ways than one.
I am a person of color. I am a woman. I am a millennial mounted in college debt. And, like a whopping 40-percent of other Americans, I was a child born into a failed marriage.
And, it is because of this that I believe I have an irrational fear of love.
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My parents divorced when I was seven, and I remember the day I found out very vividly. It was the August before second grade and I was instantly traumatized by the news.
How do you tell a 7-year-old who she sees her mother as her champion and her dad as a hero that you’re splitting and can’t make it through something? I thought they were supposed to make it through everything.
Throughout my life, the crumbling of their relationship has always crippled me.
I inherited the best of their qualitiesâ€”their loves of music, their adventurous spirits. Yet I am also a product of their worstâ€”I’m short-tempered and outspoken. I am afraid that the mixture of the good and the bad discredits my chances at the happiness that love brings.
In all my growing up, when it comes to love, I am still that 7-year-old witnessing the fall of her parents’ marriage. I have yet to learn what it means to really be vulnerable, to truly be unafraid of my own emotions and then subsequently share them with someone I care about.
To know that something that was once so precious, and resulted in my existence, could have so easily become nothing more than a distant memory has riddled me with a fear that I just canâ€™t seem to shake.
I want to love, but somewhere within my mind, in some quasi-act of defense, I am cautioned against it; itâ€™s protection and self-sabotage all-in-one.
At 22 years old, I am weighed down with the baggage of a love I have yet to even experience first hand. I hate talking about feelings and emotions, even in the midst of feeling themâ€”my skin starts to feel hot and no matter how hard I try, nothing I do seems to make it cool.
Iâ€™ve opened up and shared bits and pieces of myself with significant others. But the big stuff? Itâ€™s stored away somewhere deep in my psyche taped up and nailed down, marked with â€śdo not touch.â€ť
The demise of their relationship has left me with a fair share of questions and an overwhelming understanding that wanting something bad enough doesn’t mean it’s meant to be.
My parents failed marriage taught me that even a champion can fall and even a hero can falter. But even in failure, it would be a shame to not try again.
Even though I am the worst of them, I am the best of them too. While their relationship crippled me, it hasnâ€™t paralyzed me. I am still recovering from my fear and learning how to move past it. I am still healing from the downfall of their union, hoping to become strong enough for the future of my own. My fears are a work in progress, because like love, I am too.
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