“I know who the other guy is because you hug everyone in the school but him.”
This was said to me by my first high school boyfriend. I was a sophomore at the time and we were near the end of our relationship – although I didn’t know it then. He had started talking about the possibility of dating other people and I had felt scared at the prospect of “losing” him, but more importantly, I was afraid to be alone – the implication of me being alone was, in my mind, proof that I was unloveable…So I had started dating another boy on the sly.
The “other guy” was someone I had known since I was ten. I felt safe with him. And, to that point in my life, that “other guy” had taught me some very crucial lessons about life and the art of “what goes around comes around.” As the years rolled on, that “other guy” would become one of the most important people in my life and, although he died at a very early age – eight years ago – he was one of the people who had a profound impact on the woman I am today.
I remember looking at my boyfriend and laughing off his remark about me not hugging the other boy. There was no way that I could have been giving myself away, I thought as I hugged one friend after another. Then, the “other guy” was there, walking toward us, with his eyes locked firmly on me. He smiled at us, nodded to me once, deliberately turned his shoulder away from me so we would make no contact and continued on. I held my breath the whole time.
Boyfriend turned to me, “See.”
It was only one word, but I knew in that word that he knew the truth. I did love the “other guy” and it was a very confusing place to be. I didn’t know how I could be loving two boys at the same time. It was just… well… it was wrong.
But this post isn’t about the myriad of ways I continued to prove to myself that I was wrong. This post is about the things that you long for…
In the movie, The Village, there is a running theme through the storylines of a couple pairs of characters. Story, the main female character, finds the boy she loves, Lucius, sitting against a rock one day. While sitting there with him, she says, “ When I was younger… you used to hold my arm when I walked. Then suddenly you stopped. One day, I even tripped in your presence and nearly fell. I was faking, of course, but still you did not hold me. Sometimes we don’t do things we want to do so that others won’t know we want to do them.”
Later on in the movie, Lucius is having a conversation with his mother, Alice.
Alice asks, “ And what makes you think that he has feelings for me?”
Lucius replies, “The way he never touches you.”
This practice of not reaching for what you most long for is a human gut-reaction based on the fear of ultimate rejection, the fear of being left alone, not chosen, unloved. This fear permeates the DNA of humans and is one of the reasons our world is in turmoil. Rather than embracing the beauty of love, often times humans hold up their hands against it, pushing it away. Or, other times, they grasp it with a death grip and hold on for all they’re worth, effectively squashing the powerfully gentle essence of love from within it until there is nothing left but a hollow, withered shell.
The art of living a life of full aliveness is to look into the face of that fear, acknowledge it and hold open your arms to embrace the very thing you are most fearing. Whether that is a new friendship, new project, new lover, new business endeavor, new dream, new hope, new healing, or new whatever it is that you’re feeling yourself want to not acknowledge, looking with a willing heart and learning eyes at the very thing you most fear to receive is the first step to breaking through this age-old pattern of denying the very thing you most long for.
And, in the end, you may actually receive it. Think of that!