Making my Heart Skip a Beat

As much as I sometimes loathe the fact that I feel things so deeply, there is a particular aspect of my empathy that I do rather enjoy. I love that it is strikingly easy for my heart to “skip a beat”. You know that excruciating and wonderful feeling where your stomach flutters, something in your heart twinges, and you shiver? Those physical manifestations of falling in love?

All I have to do for my body to produce those automatic responses is to read a romantic tale of two lovers in a novel, or watch a charming love story play out in a movie. I don’t have to try too hard to feel those feelings, I don’t need to actually have someone to make me feel that way. I can just engage myself in a story and physically feel all the emotions a character has. It allows me to live vicariously, to feel the depths of those feelings in a simulation, not needing to rely on real life experience. My imagination is so vivid – I can not only see the story in my mind – I can feel it in my body.

At times like these, I appreciate my ability to feel things so wholly and completely – body and mind. It’s not always pleasant, but these moments make it totally worth it. It reminds me that underneath my stoicism, my cynicism, my loneliness and my determination to keep others at arms length –  there is a hopeless romantic who is completely and utterly in love with even the notion of love. And the revelation that I am a hopeless romantic brings a fond smile to my lips. There is some sadness twinged within the smile, because I never truly forget how lonely I really am, but once in a while being a hopeless romantic is enough.

it also strikes me as funny that I am such a romantic – because outwardly not many people would really know that. I am not too fond of physical displays of affection directed towards me. I’m not really a touchy feely type – I have to be the right mood to engage in hugging and kissing anyone (even family). I’m more likely to wave and nod my head in greeting a loved one that I am to hug them.

And yet, and yet, I dream of exactly those things – of being held and being kissed, and walking hand in hand. Even though that germophobic part of my mind screams about the unsanitary and ghastly things that occur with the exchanging bodily fluids.  The thought of swapping saliva, or letting someone’s sweaty palms touch my skin actually repulses me. It makes my skin itch, and my stomach drop (not in a good way). But the closeness, the intimacy, That is something I paradoxically crave yet detest. I want it so bad, even though the thought of it makes my stomach whirl unpleasantly.

Funny how contradictory it makes me.

For who could ever learn to love a beast?

I was out to lunch with a couple of my co-workers the other day, and one of them happened to ask me “Are you seeing anyone at the moment?” My answer to that was a resounding “no” as if I thought she was completely nuts for asking. She didn’t seem to understand why I would say “no” like that, and though I never explained myself – it did get me thinking.

What was my reasoning to be incredulous at the thought that I’d be dating anyone? I think my disbelief stems more from my wondering – who the heck would want to be with me? I’m sure I have many redeeming qualities – I know I am loyal, I have the capacity to be loving, I am genuine and honest, and sometimes have a rather mischievous sense of humour. But that sort of stuff takes time for someone to learn.

At first glance I am somewhat aloof and detached. I have difficulty trusting other people, and tend to keep to myself. But more crucially I’m damaged goods – a single parent of 2 children, AND I live with Bipolar disorder. I mean if my ex couldn’t live with me – even though we have 2 children together – who the fuck would want to put up with me? I know I have many days where I’d like to check out and be someone else so I didn’t have to put up with me.

It’s not like I necessarily believe I’m actually really truly damaged goods. It’s more like I don’t feel like I am whole (I wonder if I ever will be). And if I can’t be whole for myself, I don’t think I can be whole for anyone else.

I’m awfully lonely though, and I’d love to have someone who truly understands me in my life – my own Mr. Right. But I don’t think I have the capacity to be anyone’s Ms. Right. At least not in the way anyone would need me to be, the way they would deserve to have me be. I am too particular, I need my life to be a certain way or I can’t function. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to accommodate my peculiarities because it would be asking too much.

I wish knew better when I got into the relationship with my ex. I didn’t realise the kind of person I am. If I did; there is no way I would have gone that far. I wouldn’t have let it get serious enough to have a family. I would never have willingly put anyone into the situation where I just make them miserable because of the parts of me I cannot control.

Now, I have to live with the fact that I emotionally damaged someone else because of my illness. And I constantly worry that I’m going to ruin my kids and make them miserable. I do the best I can, but sometimes I don’t have anything left to give my kids. My energy, my attention, my affection – they are all limited resources and there are times I don’t have them to give. And if there are times I can’t even give them to my own flesh and blood, what hope would anyone who “chooses” to be with me have?

I’d like to say that I believe that there is somebody for everybody, but it is my belief that there are always exceptions to every rule. And I happen to be an exception in this case.

Note 1: This is not a pity party, I don’t need to be told that I am “whole” or that I will find “Mr. Right” someday. This post expresses personal feelings that I had to get out of my brain into the real world. I currently accept the above as my place life. I acknowledge that I may not always feel this way, but at least for the foreseeable future this is how I see it.

Note 2: The title of this post is a quote from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)