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  • Christy Alfaro

I Love You? I Love You Not? (My fear of being vulnerable)

I think a lot about how little moments in my childhood have impacted the way that I move about my life as an adult. A part of me feels like the older I get the more I’m affected by my past but I think the reality is that I’ve learned the language to understand how my past experiences have influenced the way I act. It’s something I think and worry about a lot regarding my nephews and nieces. I live with this fear that moments and comments that may mean nothing to the people saying or doing them will have long-lasting impacts on them, the same way little moments had long-lasting impacts on me.

There are lots of little moments that happened in my past that have made me build walls within myself, walls that were started in childhood as little obstacles that through time have built brick by brick into the wall it is now. I say that because I think it feels wrong to source one moment when I was 5, for example, to a tall wall that’s built inside me now. It was just the base and life added the other bricks. One of the moments, feelings, and subsequent walls that I have been tackling as of late is my fear of being vulnerable with people. Now you may be thinking, but Christy you’re constantly being vulnerable through your blog, and dear reader you’d be right. I don’t mind being vulnerable on this blog because it’s a different kind of vulnerability that feels easier to tackle.

The vulnerability that actually frightens me is being vulnerable with people in my life, specifically I’m scared of people knowing how much they mean to me. I wasn’t always like this. When I was younger I was very loving, I would tell my friends how much they meant to me and how much I loved them all the time. When I had a crush on someone I would tell everyone (except the crush themselves of course). I was a very lovey kid and then over time I’d watch the guys I’d have crushes on either figure out I liked them and it would ruin our friendship or they would start to date my close friends. And because people knew I liked them, everyone around me would start to pity me, they would ask me how sad I was about the turn of events, and what was once something that made me feel good would just embarrass me. As I’ve gotten older that fear of being pitied, as someone that isn’t good enough, isn’t a first choice, and is easy to walk away from has prevented me from expressing any kind of kinship or love that I may have for the people in my life.

It comes back to my fear of rejection. No one can reject me if they don’t even know there’s something to reject. If someone drops out of my life, or has another best friend, or starts to date someone else - while it may hurt me, as long as no one knows I’m hurting that’s okay. I’d rather suffer in silence, constantly, than take a risk.

I've had friends tell me before that they thought I didn't actually really like someone because I was talking about someone new after crying to them the week before about someone else. They think that my feelings for these people weren't super strong because I was able to move on so quickly. And yet in all those times I'm still hurting over the original person, crying myself to sleep, talking to my therapist about it; but I just don't want anyone to know that vulnerability. I don't want them to know that person still had that effect on me even after I was rejected.

This isn’t my favorite trait of mine and I’ve started to think about how this will serve me for the rest of my life. There are people in my past, romantic and non-romantic, that I can’t help but look back and wonder if our story would be different if I had been more honest about my feelings towards them. If I had the guts to tell that one guy, “Hey I like you and I think we should explore something here,” or to tell the really good friend I had, “You make my life better by just being here, I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you and there’s nothing more that I want than to keep you in my life.”

I’d like to take a brief interlude to take you through my internal dialogue.

“Christy, it’s unfair of you to blame yourself for those relationships failing. Communication works both ways; if they wanted to, they could have said something or done more.”

“I know that Christy but I also think that’s a dangerous narrative to be pushing. Where’s my accountability in that logic?”

“Why do you need to be held accountable? Relationships are two-way streets and maybe you gave as much as you could.”

But I don’t think that’s true, I always have more to give.”

“Yeah well that’s your problem, you give too much. You love too much.”

“Boo!! You know how much I hate the phrase ‘too much’. What’s ‘too much’? What are we measuring ‘too much’ off of and how is it that my actions are always the ones that are ‘too much’?”

“Okay fine, I won’t use too much. I’m just saying, I worry that you’ll give and give to people who don’t deserve it and there has to be a point where you realize that someone may not be worth the love you’re giving, and maybe that’s what happened there.”

“That’s sweet Christy, and I appreciate you looking out for me, but I don’t think that’s what I’m talking about here. It’s not about what the other person does or doesn’t contribute. It’s about my inability to be vulnerable, my crippling fear of rejection, and my worry that all of this will limit my ability to form a true connection with someone.”

“I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“I get hurt anyway. I can’t stop being worried about that. Being vulnerable scares the fuck out of me but eventually, I think being vulnerable will pay off for me, I’m just tired of having what-ifs.”

This deep dive started because of Thanksgiving. In true Thanksgiving fashion, I got a little drunk the night before and I was watching this TikTok about present you telling January you everything that’s happened this year. And anyone who followed along with me last year knows that January me never saw what the rest of the year had in store for her. Sitting and watching this TikTok, thinking about how much has happened over that year, I realized how blessed I was to have so many amazing people in my life. So in my drunken state, I drafted up long, heartfelt messages to my 10 closest friends. I mean I got deep in there, I had personal stories and anecdotes and told them how much I loved them, how much they helped me through this year, and just how thankful and blessed I feel to have them in my life. And then I woke up the next morning and didn’t send any of them all I sent was a “Happy Thanksgiving text” to 4 of those 10 friends.

When I woke up on Thanksgiving day and saw all of the texts I was ready to send to people I felt this deep level of embarrassment for myself, I imagined these people getting that text and laughing, or just sending a little heart message with a “you too :)” text back and I just couldn’t bear to put myself in a position that lets people know how much they mean to me. I realized I don’t like not having power in a situation and by letting someone know how much they mean to me I lose all that power.

I chose reclamation to be my word of the year and I've been looking at all of my choices this year in the spirit of that word. After talking to my therapist I realized that I lost a lot of parts of myself over time that I miss and while I've never really had the confidence to put myself out there and be vulnerable I've decided that I want this year to be more than just getting back to who I used to be, I want this to be about reclaiming the person I've always wanted to be; bringing back old characteristics and growing into new ones.

There is nothing I want more than to continue to be a loving person and I've realized that me giving my love to people doesn't have to be a bad thing. Rejection doesn't have to be a direct reflection of me and I don't have to be someone that everyone loves. Finding the people who appreciate my love is what matters most. And the best way to do that is to learn to love myself. So as I move through this year, and through my blog posts this year, I'm going to be learning to not only love myself again but also who I am again. Welcome to Christy Is Whelmed 2024 and welcome to my year of reclamation.

Until next time!


A Whelmed Christy


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