This was originally published on Thought Catalog
You know it, right away. You will try to rationalize things. Anything. You might try your hand at playing unsuccessful games with our own ego and pride, convincing yourself that this sickening gut feeling is wrong. Maybe you are just reading signs that don’t exist. The way they always let go of your hand first. The steadiness in their voice when yours cracks with vulnerability. The moments they flash a smile, and everything inside you wants to crawl inside their heart the way they have seamlessly done to you, and stay there. Maybe they warned you from the beginning, but you wanted to stay swimming in your own fantasies. You don’t want to read the writing on the wall. You want what you already know down deep to be wrong. You have never wanted anything more than to be so, sounbelievably wrong. But you, lovely and courageously open book, are not wrong. And this, you already know.
When you are the one more invested, you listen closely for a ticking clock. You feel expiration date slapped across your forehead. You wonder what little things you do will extend your shelf-life. If you just could get them to see your importance. That you, are not some fucking carton of milk to go bad. You are water. You are air, and energy. Everything they should value and appreciate. You’re necessity, not accessory. Do not forget this. You will forget this as you try to convince your own worth. Maybe they do not call when they say they will. Maybe they leave you waiting alone, outside the restaurant for 15 minutes. You will forget your own worth, wonder if there’s a reason they are not as invested. Maybe you are just not a worthy investment. Maybe you are spoiled milk, and they are the water. But this time, do not believe yourself. You are always the water, and if they do not see that, they do not deserve to drink you.
You will think about shutting down. Maybe the next time, you won’t allow yourself to fall so quickly and fearlessly. You will keep a safe distance, never again be the one who says things first. The one who does things first. The one who feels things first. No, you are sick of being the courageously open book. You are sick of people skipping through chapters. You are not library, not available to anyone and everyone. You are water, remember?
You will again meet someone and fear the deepest roots are already forming. You try to stop. You cut down branches. You run away as far as your roots allow. But they are growing, and you cannot ignore them. You are water, nourishing everything you come across. You are so scared of becoming invested, and you have a right to be. But this is why you shouldn’t.
It’s okay to care a lot about things. We’re living in a time that encourages aloof behavior, to boast “not giving a fuck.” We don’t want to become attached to things. Instead, we detach. We keep space between our fingers and lives. We won’t do things from fear of seeming needy, emotional, too invested. We will keep ourselves at an arms length to avoid becoming hurt. We do just about anything to avoid being hurt.
When you are the one that’s more invested, you learn something important. You are unafraid of being honest with your heart. This is the bravest thing you can ever do. And guess what? You’re going to be stung as a result. You just will. But when the scabs form and the healing process begins, you get to walk away with no regrets. You have the closure of knowing you did everything you could. You were 100% true in how you felt, and if someone couldn’t reciprocate, it is their loss. And I promise, there will be someone one day who is just as invested. And it will be worth the risk. So please, keep being brave.