I am afraid of heights.
From the banister at the mall, to random balconies, ladders, bridges, and even the two steps I managed to scale during rock climbing. The chant from onlookers well aware of my fear has always been the same: “Just don’t look down!” Yeah. Sounds easy. The thing is, my fear of heights is different from most. It isn’t just based on, well, falling to death. No, what scares me is the idea that while crossing the bridge over the Chicago River, I will sneeze, lose my balance, and fall over the side. Or someone walking pass me will sneeze, lose their balance, and knock me over the side. Or maybe, the construction worker who built the bridge was in a hurry to get to lunch and consequently failed to install a crucial bolt that holds the whole thing together. You see, my fear is founded on the notion that humans make far too many mistakes, they do things far too quickly and without care, they’re subject to heart-stopping reflexes that can push someone too far, and things that are old eventually crumble and give way.
My fear is that that I will lose control.
I haven’t always had this fear; it's something which has occurred by the acquisition of knowledge of basic human behaviors mixed with a bit about how things are put together.
Needless to say, it surprised even me when after a really emotional break up, a move into a high rise apartment turned out to be the doorway to enlightenment and self reflection. My failed love relationships were contributing to an underlying fear that crippled me from putting faith in other people. I had been disappointed too many times. I had lost too many things that were dear to me. And I was tired of my life being thrown completely off balance by the unexpected. I was hanging on for dear life, attempting to control every aspect of my life. But as fate would have it, life’s surprises would…well, surprise me, and I’d end up right back where I started.
The area of my life that seemed to be taking the hardest beating was my love life. Disappointed after having poured so much into relationships that never amounted to a wedding ring, I was starting to think something was wrong with me. I went into overdrive attempting to evaluate and make corrections in my life. After my last break up, I came to live by the unspoken rule that, “when I run into my ex, I’d better be looking and doing my best!” I’d better not be looking “down”. Women live by this mantra! As a result, we commit to losing 20 pounds, start traveling so we can brag about having just come back from Paris. We go back to school, start praying twice daily, invest in a new wardrobe, spend more time with friends, teach ourselves to play Madden so the next guy will view us as “versatile.” We repair our credit so we can buy a fancier/newer car, apply for a newer/better job, get a new hair color, buy a pair of diamond stud earrings, volunteer with the youth, get our teeth whitened, move into a new apartment in a better neighborhood and oh if the cosmos would align, we will be caught with an even more attractive man on our arm. We do all of this so the next time we run into him, he will see, know, and understand that life not only goes on without him but it is indeed better without him.
In turn, while I was filling my life with distractions what I was really doing is bettering myself, just with the wrong motivation. Bettering myself, is what I should have been doing all along.
As I bravely hung the curtain from my 17th floor window, I started to think, when it comes to love and relationships, given all the time I spend bracing myself to keep from what seems like certain relationship death, scared of falling in love, what would happen if I were to suddenly forget relationships past and let go?
“Single, but Shouldn’t Be” is an invitation into my world of love, dating, friendships, relationships, and the complexities of it all. I’m no relationship counselor; nor do I hope to be, so let’s just get that out the way. No matchmaker. I’m no spiritual advisor, no Love Doctor. My attention span is so short at times, I may not even be a good listening ear; but as I journal my experiences in love, I hope to inspire you, to encourage and reassure you, and if nothing else, in the simplest form, at least entertain and distract you. Think of me as your new friend. We know nothing about each other, but I hope to find out along the way.
Take my hand. Let’s make our tandem jump.
Don’t look down.
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