First published here.
“And in that moment of complete submission, I was free, liberated.” I had heard or read this line countless times, always wondering what it really meant! How can one ever attain liberation in submissiveness, in giving in? I had been a submissive person and it landed me in problems. Submissiveness leads to low self-confidence, low self-esteem and insecurity. It’s bad!
But now I know. As with every other thing, it does not matter if you should let the fear leave or let your guard down with everyone. It matters who you show your vulnerabilities to.
What my heartbreak taught me
After a disastrous incident more than two years ago, I knew I had become closed-off, developed trust issues and pushed people away. That happens when a friend you trusted takes advantage of your feelings and once the ‘fun’ is over, you are discarded. No wonder I was scared to be intimate again!
My heartbreak and betrayal taught me to put myself first, to not let my guard down, because your heart can play tricks on you and to beware of what a man says versus what he does. My friends complained that I did not talk to them, I was too self-involved. And my mother would say, “How will anyone get to know you if you don’t allow them to come close to you? Don’t keep people at arm’s length.”
The fact that I had lost my job did not help this. Though I managed my career well since, I became more prone to anxiety. The desire to get closure made me seek revenge or expect an apology from the other person.
I thought it would give me the necessary peace of mind I’m looking for. Nobody would understand it. For most of my friends, I was a subject of mockery or pity. I didn’t need either. I didn’t play the victim card because hey, nobody asked the perpetrator to mend his ways! Tell me this is not a man’s world.
All of this made me get angrier and more vengeful by the day.
Then I decided to try technology
Until, one fine day, impulsively, I decided to try something new, a product of technology and use it to meet people. I was always sceptical of online dating. But I thought I should put myself out there and give it a try instead of waiting for it to happen!
And then he came along, the one with the word #impulsive in his bio.
Normal as ever, but with impeccable mannerisms, a voice I loved and enthusiastic about new things, new people. In short, someone way, way out of my league. He was an aspiring scientist with an impressive resume and he was smart! He knew what he was talking about. His French exposure (he did his MS in France) reflected in the way he talked and behaved. Even his choice of music and TV shows was intelligent! And he had his own start-up! I thought I had no chance here.
I felt intimidated by him. And he drank 3-4 glasses of water in nervousness on our first date. But, as days went by, it felt exhilarating to be around him. As he opened up, I began to enjoy everything he said. I’d see Christmas lights in his laughter. I’d wake up with his “Good Morning” texts and more all through the day and night. It was what I had wanted for so long.
Yet, the moment he’d try to come close, I’d shut him off. I wouldn’t reciprocate whenever he’d say something romantic or flirty; he’d hold my hand but I’d take it away and I always avoided talking more about myself. This is not to say I wasn’t attracted to him. But there was this thing in my head that’d go off like a fire alarm the moment he’d try to come closer! I’d feel he had an ulterior motive and, like scores of guys, just wants to get laid, though he wasn’t doing anything which suggested that. But the pangs of fear had risen and it began to work, making me go all crazy and insecure.
Then I began to have doubts
What if it’s all a farce?
What if there is an ulterior motive behind all these gestures?
We met online, right? Aren’t there creeps on dating apps?
What if, once he is done, he abandons me, just like it happened before??
I remember that night these fears were lurking somewhere in me. But, I subdued those. Even though it told me I’m setting myself up for heartbreak again, I didn’t choose to run away! And after a moment, I let go. Thank God, I did that. And he understood what I wanted! He was careful and gentle and gave me my own sweet time to express what I had begun feeling for him. I don’t know how a stranger could make me feel this comfortable and secure. And how many guys ask for consent? Well, he did!
Enclosed in that space, he looked right at me and once his lips touched mine, I felt complete freedom, a freedom I hadn’t felt in two and a half years, imprisoned by the past. Just one moment and I was free. I was in the present.
Too bad my fears won, ultimately. No matter how much I tried reasoning with them, arguing, they wouldn’t budge. And then, it all went to dust. In an insecure moment, I asked him blatantly if he had any malicious intentions, if he meets me just to fulfill his fantasises! I regretted it immediately after sending it because I knew I had gone too far.
Today, I can say all of this in retrospect. I pushed someone away. Not every person wants to hurt you and abandon you. The emotional baggage and the trauma I carried made its effect. And I tried so hard to blame my heartbreaker for it. Except that I couldn’t.
It was then that it hit me. No longer did I want an apology or a payback from that person. I didn’t care anymore.
It’s crazy how it happened, but it did. In just a month, all the suffering of two and a half years left me, like a demon leaving a body it had possessed.
I understood how I had let the poison engulf me when I still had hope and love in me to give to someone. It was harming me; it was hurting people who cared for me.
Don’t let yourself suffer
Nobody else should suffer for what one screwed-up soul did to me, not even me!
If your perpetrator does not suffer, neither should you. If you begin to suffer, you will make others suffer, especially the ones who have so much to give to you.
As I remember those moments spent with him, all I can think of is how grateful I am to have allowed, if only, a few moments of pure joy with someone who wasn’t a known soul. Though it didn’t last, I gained a friend and lost my fear.
It’s what my friend told me, “You wish to get over the fear of heartbreak? Let it break again! The fear will vanish.”