icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"
I was looking through old emails from 2007 the other day (trying to find contact info) and came across gtalk conversations with someone I was close friends with back then. Here's a bit from March 2007:
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This was my normal with close friends. I was highly effusive and constantly expressing affection and admiration. The person that I had this conversation with I was never in a romantic relationship with, yet we shared intensely affectionate expressions of love as a constant in our friendship. To an outside observer I probably seem really trusting now, but I am SO WARY compared to my natural self.
[experiences with ex-friends which broke me]
I feel like Ava, Kei-won-tia, and to some extent Aurilion and Evelyn broke something in me. Ava was someone I passionately adored and loved profoundly, who lied to me in profound ways and then cut me off completely when I called them on it. Kei-won-tia was someone who I thought shared my values, who I felt strong resonance with, and later I learned that they believed none of what they said and lied to me. They intentionally tricked me into loving who I thought they were. Aurilion told me over and over how important I was to them and how "this time I won't run away I promise" followed by them cutting me out of their life the second it got difficult. Evelyn did much the same, though for even shorter bits of time.
I feel wary of speaking of anyone with admiration for fear that they will reveal that everything I love is only a carefully created manipulation, or is a rug about to be snatched from underneath me. I would never have thought that people could keep up a facade for months on end but now I know better. Multiple people have done this to me. Now honestly I am suspicious of anyone who seems to agree with me on everything. I wait to see if they stay agreeing when they're mad at me, or if they express the same things when there is no prompt related to me. I can't bring myself to believe that they mean it independent of me unless they already expressed it before meeting me and I can find proof of that. The people who wounded me most were people who pretended to be changed by exposure to my words.
More recently, Cass and Heather both betrayed my trust and made me feel a fool for investing in them. I now have a great fear that people I love will trust the people I praise and then get hurt by those people. I don't want to enthuse over someone only to watch them harm my closest people. At the same time I desperately crave an interconnected web of friends, so I yearn to have my people invest in each other. But I won't be the vector of harm again if I can help it. I can vouch for Topaz and Allison but everyone else I'm unsure of, everyone. No matter how much I love them or how much I'm willing to trust them, myself.
My effusiveness is further withered by disuse and discouragement. For at least 5 years I haven't been close to anyone who is comfortable being complimented even a little bit, much less with the enthusiasm that is natural to me. Topaz allows it but disagrees with me every time, though they have at least become gentle in their disagreement. (and to be fair, we are effusive with each other and Topaz doesn't disagree with my expressions of love, only my expressions of admiration) Evelyn reacted to my effusiveness with discomfort or rejection, multiple times. Most people react with disagreement, embarrassment, by saying that other people disagree with me, or by telling me things they don't like about themselves.
Worse, some people react as if I am hitting on them, which is uncomfortable and upsetting for me because it shows such deep misunderstanding of me. If I adore you, that doesn't at all mean I want to have sex with you, and if I want to have sex with you I am not going to try to talk you into it with flattery! good god!
And it is difficult when I don't even know anyone else like this anymore. When they were in a self-love-focused place, some of my old friends had this effusiveness in them as well, and we could reflect each other in an ever-growing glow of adoration and just as importantly, acceptance and appreciation of that adoration. Can I even express how amazing it was to be able to say "I love this part of me" and have them look at that part closely and love it just as well, and express it even more than I had? To feel that my self-love wasn't just tolerated or envied or distance-venerated but actively, vibrantly, joyously supported and enjoyed! And even more so, to give that self-love support to others and watch the exquisite unfolding of new layers of selfhood in them.
They also had that way of seeing people truly and that almost irrepressible urge to express the delight of knowing. They also trusted me and took my emotion-words as truths. It felt so good to be so fearlessly affectionate. It felt so good to have my words taken with both hands, kissed, and put in a sacred place, rather than pushed back at me with a disgusted face.
I am still effusive with a small handful of people but it seems impossible to access with newer friends. I think about my current friends and I know there are at least 5 people who I have met in the past few years who past-me would have been SO effusive towards, but current-me is not. I'm waiting for some future safety that will never come.
My effusiveness was one of my favorite things about me and it crushes me that that part of me is so damaged and I have no access to it.