Temporary People

I have this nasty, horrible habit of granting temporary people permanent privileges. I trust too quickly. I attach too fast. I open up, I invest, I believe. I let you in. Colleagues, friends, romances. I don’t discriminate when it comes to allowing people too much access.

Temporary guests should be offered coffee or tea, and a seat on the couch where I’ll sit across from you in pearls and make polite conversation. Instead I invite you to sit at my kitchen table, I pull out cake, I allow you to see me in my PJs. We giggle over impolite conversation that would be whispered outside the confines of these walls, and I’m not self conscious when I snort-laugh.

Temporary people see the professional who never quits, and tries to see the silver lining in absolutely everything. I’d never curse in front of a temporary, and I use my “grown up” voice. But I foolishly let you see my vulnerabilities, and I fucking hate being vulnerable. You know what my “passionate” voice sounds like. Temporary people think I control my emotions well while you know that I explode with words when I’m upset, only to take a step back and address things rationally once the pressure has released.

Temporary people think I have my act together. You know that I can get lost in a paper bag with directions drawn on the inside. Temporaries describe me as polite, intelligent, friendly. You describe me as a hilarious perv who is ridiculously emotional. I can take a day or two to return phone calls from temporary people who always wind up catching my voicemail. You’d never dream of calling me unless you sent a warning text first, and you know that I bump communication with you to the top of my to-do list. Texts rarely sit longer than a few minutes and when they do you know it’s because I’m an airhead who responds mentally and calls it good. Phone calls are answered on the first ring, because warning text and you’re important.

And the problem with handing temporary people the power of someone permanent is that temporary = not forever. So when you inevitably walk away and I’m left a sobbing heap on the floor I have a list of things to pick apart. Was it my weirdness that they couldn’t tolerate? Is it because I’m a horrible dancer? Is it my obsession with music and running? Was I too much or not enough?! I go down this inventory of things that are ME and pick them apart as weird, and intolerable, and repulsive. I dissect all that makes me who I am, wondering what wasn’t good enough. Why was this key piece of my soul disposable?

And while I sift through the compost pile of all the reasons I’m not lovable I promise myself, never again. I will stop allowing people in so far. I will confine people to the guest-ready living room and leave the door to the kitchen closed. I will stop handing my heart out the way politicians hand out flyers. I will stop exposing my soul to those who haven’t earned the right to touch it. It is destroying, and it is my own fault for allowing them that power. If I’m hurt it’s because I didn’t hold back far enough, and THAT. STOPS. TODAY. 

And I’m such a liar. I won’t stop any of that. It’s who I am. Knowing the possible consequences, I move forward. I trust too quickly. I attach too fast. I open up, I invest, I believe. I let you in. And it seems like a flaw but it’s so important. I think we’re half sleep walking through a world of emotional zombies. People who hide who they are out of self preservation. Folks who think games are the only way to protect their hearts. Individuals who act aloof and play it cool, so as not to risk another heartbreak. And I can’t do that.

I need to feel, form attachments, connect with people on a level that says, “I see you”. I invite you into my kitchen to chat while I do the dishes because I know we all have fucking dishes, and they’d be so much more tolerable if we had someone sit and chat with us while we work our way through them. I let you see the laundry on the floor because no one has ever told you that laundry is not the end of the world. I will hand you my soul, and pray that you are gentle with it, because how will one ever learn if they aren’t given the chance. And when you squeeze too tight, or drop it, or- hell, in some cases- when you purposely punt it into next week I’ll handle it. I’ll apply ice and band aids, I’ll take time to heal, I’ll move forward a little more dented and bruised, knowing that it was worth it for the brief amount of time you gently caressed it, peered into it, looked for the things that make me tick because you needed to know more about me. I won’t leave things unsaid, because we get one life, one chance, and “oh well, I tried” is easier to live with than “what if I’d tried”.

I don’t want to be aloof, or cool, or jaded. I want to know people, not just meet them. I want to trust too quickly. I want to attach too fast. I want to open up, invest, believe. I want to let you in. Because for every 9 people who throw me away, there will be 1 who becomes permanent and that makes it all worth it.

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