Scar Tissue

January 2015
“I really like you.”

The words resonated with me. A flash of a smile emerged and then the sobering thoughts began to cloud my head. I had heard these words before and expected that I should have no problems being at this place again. Getting to know someone, getting those butterflies in my stomach when his name comes across my phone screen, enjoying the effort I see when someone is endeavoring to know me. These are some of life’s joys but there is a hesitation as I wade through this particular situation.

“I really like you.”

I remember when I heard those words from someone else (and was convinced they meant something). It was 2011 and my head swirled around the idea that that particular he would find interest in me. The sentiment seemed to be confirmed in his actions, and through the mouths of those who knew him best. “That boy really loves you.” were actual words that came from one of his family member’s mouth.  They should know, right?  So I went along and because I liked him too, I was open to all the possibilities that came with him really liking me. But I forgot that like is not irreversible and I eventually had to ride the wave of unlike, as good times waned, tastes changed, and needs were better satisfied elsewhere. Or maybe realities were just realized and courage grew the feet to do what was best for us both.

“I really like you.”

I listened to this newcomer explain in detail why he likes me and why that’s so important. And I have to think long and hard before I give myself the room to even begin to feel satisfaction with knowing that someone likes me. I’ve been here before and though my heart looks pretty good to you, in the crevices there is scar tissue – places where new skin has formed but will never quite be the same. New love sensibilities have formed but it will never quite be the same as before. New hunches to take more risks have formed but it will never be the same as before. New desires to connect with someone deeply have formed but it will never be the same as before. All I can focus on is that I’ve heard this before – and how that didn’t end so well for me.

It is too easy to feel like I’ve healed when I’ve not taken any chances. It is too easy to be comforted by the lack of pain I feel when I’ve placed my heart in an impenetrable bubble. It is too tempting to say that I’ve dealt with all my baggage when I’ve neatly folded up my issues, put them into a nice big suitcase, and have packed it all the way out of sight. But then something comes along that dares me to step out from the shadows and to consider releasing the death grip I have on my heart and my honest response is I don’t know what to do with this.

Something in me connects with the new connection and desires to see where it will lead. But I’ve heard this before and I’ve seen this before and I am not all that confident in my ability to know. What is the difference between discernment and fear?  How will I know if this is worth my time?  Why am I starting to develop feelings?  I didn’t think twice about considering these questions in 2010 but now it only makes sense to consider them and consider them again.  Scar tissue.

“I really like you.”

Had this been about 6 months ago, fear would have prohibited me from pushing through this.  Thankfully, I’ve learned to like myself and to understand that I am a person that is worth being liked and loved.  So I’ve decided to do myself a favor and emerge from the emotional shadows of past brokenness and give myself a chance to possibly find goodness in the things and people I allow myself to experience.  I’ve got my eyes wide open and I’m praying hard every step of the way but I am making steps and I am moving forward.  And now when he tells me “I really like you.”, I allow myself to feel all the emotions hearing that brings…and I smile and allow myself to acknowledge that the feeling is mutual.  It’s good to be at this place again – hopeful, vulnerable, moving forward, loved…yet aware, matured, and pacing myself.

Love is a growing up.” – James Baldwin

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