You know that thing where you feel like you can’t breathe properly and you wake up in the middle of every night in a crippling state of inexplicable terror and your now raw and tender body becomes allergic to itself?
Yeah. Well, so, that’s been happening.
Back against the wall, this time I’m having a revelation.
The evolution of me is such that I’m not going to take this shit anymore.
Fact is, I’ve been way too sweet. My neurosis doesn’t need to be coddled and held. Hell no. My neurosis needs to be kicked to the curb like the bad boyfriend it is. Enough of all the whatever—a pattern of self-destructive behavior, possible indications of a chemical imbalance—nuh-uh. I don’t buy it anymore.
Let’s just face it. I’m all growsed up, and I’m too good for this kind of crap.
For real. I’m not going down again.
So you can just get your damn paws off me, Fear.
Fear shows just the slightest surprise when I say this.
“Awww, baby, you’ve got it all wrong,” he says, twisting his long, cold fingers all up in my hair.
But I don’t. I don’t have it all wrong.
In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s only one thing I’ve ever really had wrong.
And that has been my instinct to respond to bad situations by loving more.
Easy, because it takes absolutely no intelligence and not even a grain of self-respect.
All it takes is a big, juicy heart.
This time, I’m brave enough to look Fear straight in the eye as he attempts to seduce me.
He’s got some strong ammunition, right? Knows us all a little too well.
He’s slick, Fear. And he wants me. I get that.
But the thing is, I don’t want him back. Never have.
I’m not normally this much of a no-nonsense kid. It’s new.
New in the way that change and upheaval are new.
Fear oozes in slowly for a kiss.
“Did you quit working out?” I ask him.
“What’s that?” He withdraws slightly, inadvertently flexes.
I slip out from under the arm with which he’s got me pinned to the wall.
Head the fuck out of his lair.
“I don’t know,” I tell him, on my way.
“Somehow you used to seem bigger. Stronger.”