Warning: Lots of self-reflection. Could get mushy.

Ye be warned.

In just over a week, I will for the first time since mid-May have a place of my own. My belongings won’t be a hindrance. My unmade bed not a rude reminder of my presence. I won’t have to wear a bra in the house. I can leave my shoes everywhere. I can go grocery shopping. I am looking forward to this immensely. Even the inconveniences, I’m aching to lug in bags of food and have to put it all away. I’m ready to use my red Trader Joe’s bags to carry groceries instead of random books, CDs, hair spray and whatever catch-all crap that I had lying around, but was too cheap to actually buy a box to put it in. I can’t wait to complain about the expense of living. Most of all, I can’t wait to come home to M Fox every day.

It occurs to me that for however long I’ve wanted to be in love (which is an embarrassingly dramatic amount of time) that I don’t think I’ve ever truly been ready for it. I think back on my snapshot judgments, my overzealous acclamations, too much reaction resulting in too little sympathy and how it all distorted who I was, both to myself and to others. It saddens me a little to think of the closeness I’ve missed out on in the past (mostly in high school) because I was so frightened to be anything but what I considered to be “strong” and “unwavering.” People (myself included) took me and my emotions far too seriously. I know I pushed a lot of friends, potential and actual, away. I often wonder what would have changed if someone (myself included) had said to me, nicely and earnestly, without judgment, “Jasmine. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I’d like to think I would have had an incredible epiphany and, for CHRIST’S SAKES, have calmed down. But maybe I wouldn’t have. Maybe I would have been insulted and flown into a typhoon of self-pity. I’m honestly not sure. Mostly likely, both would have happened. And, as usual, after the typhoon was over, and I had realized my mistakes, everyone would have headed for higher ground, never to return to the place of disaster. Stupid me.

The point is, I don’t think even I was ready for the amount of love I wanted to give so early. I don’t think I could have handled it and, obviously, no one else could either. I unfortunately like to envelop people, with the hopes of also being enveloped. The problem is that my own emotional power is, frankly, fucking frightening to other people. I really didn’t understand that. It’s taken me a long, long time. I’m not really sure why I wasn’t born with a filter, or why I’ve only recently realized why I needed one. Maybe actor parents? Maybe I wanted attention and was trying to compete with my disabled sister? I’m not really sure. It makes sense why I wanted to be an actor. Where else is it okay to be emotional all the time? In fact, sometimes, if you’re REALLY good at it, they give you an award.

Currently I feel a sense of calm come over me. I haven’t had an anxiety attack since the summer. I can only assume that this calm is contentment. Don’t mistake content for being “finished.” I know I’m not, I’m excited to be “unfinished,” actually. But I don’t feel that panicky restlessness that I’ve felt with any other crush or relationship. Or that fear I’ve felt with any other job that I’ve done; that I will be stuck with it forever and never leave just because, through years and years of habit, I’ve just become good at it. I am free, but grounded. I feel like I could drop everything and move away without serious consequence. So what, right? Inconvenience, obviously, but even the tedium of having to repack and unpack and live out of a car again seems manageable. My arms are open. I think that even my mind is open. My heart is certainly open. The scales of Things That Matter Too Much and Things I Can Let Go are tipping, easily, slowly, as if slipping naked into a pool of warm water. I know that my own burgeoning consciousness is what ultimately lead me to this state, but the person to tip it off was M Fox. I treasure the calm he brings to my life. His easy smile, his improvisation, his versatility, his encouragement. I love hearing the shrug in his voice when he says, “We’ll figure it out” (a phrase that comes up a lot). I feel the truth in his eyes. I finally found someone who isn’t afraid of me. And, because of that, magically, I don’t feel the need to be frightening anymore.

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