I am the victim of vulnerability.
Co-dependency crippled me all those years ago. I carry a scar so long, so deep that I can feel the rippling skin tightening without thought. So calloused and yet paper-thin.
It’s hard to move forward with such a scar. But I try.
And recently, I’ve managed to build this rickety relationship with someone who cares; but like a birdhouse made in a high school shop class, it doesn’t show much proficiency. It sort of leans to one side and the pieces don’t quite match.
But somehow it manages to keep the rain off the birds’ feathers when it storms.
Despite this precarious creation and it’s deepening intimacy, I find myself unable to say what I think is expected.
It’s like dirt in the throat.
Sand in the mouth.
Broken glass along the tongue.
That fear bubbles up and locks my tongue so neatly whenever I have that moment. And the moment happens more and more. It’s almost casual now.
When he’ll go out of his way to check on me when I’ve been my quiet, reclusive self.
When he knows what joke to make to get me to smile.
When runs his fingers through my hair in that slow, gentle way I like.
When he makes sure he can be there during my upcoming surgery.
I want to say it. I do. But that fear, that victim mindset leaps to attention.
It hisses-snarls-screams at me…
Do not give him that power.
No one ever deserves that knowledge, that ability to damage you so completely. No one does ever again.
Remember what happened last time.
The one time I tried handing my heart over. I tried full, unconditional trust.
Unconditional trust is overrated.
Unconditional trust is what turned me into the victim.
Conditions are safe.
I stare at that birdhouse I’ve created, and part of me wants so badly to sand it, varnish it, paint it. Make it something of beauty that will last a long time.
But that victim-voice reminds me that it will only make the pain sharper when the birdhouse finally does crumble.
And it will crumble.