You play it safe and practice Protected Sex, but do you also practice Protected Love? I know I do.
Dating is often referred to as a “game.” It’s easy to imagine it like a back-and-forth game of catch with your heart. You keep putting yourself out there, hoping your partner will grab your heart and hold your heart and not let your heart roll into the dirt under the pricker bush. Ouch!
There’s the widely accepted “rules” for dating that require you to always keep your guard, wait for the other shoe to drop, and run away before there’s a chance to be hurt.
Like, “Don’t text back too soon!” and “don’t say ‘I love you’ first!” – because that shows you care! And if you care more, you’re the fool, you’re the one who’s going to get hurt. You’re a loser. You have to WIN! If winning means being the bigger cynic, then so be it!
Instead of throwing your heart out there, risking your partner walking away on you and leaving your heart to land in the pricker bush (like ouch can you even with this metaphor?), it feels safer just to hold onto it.
How do you learn to risk yourself getting hurt when all you’ve known is to be careful? To be cautious? To put your heart in a condom to keep love from getting out (or getting in?) To practice Protected Love?
But what does being a cynic get you, anyway? If someone handed you a beautifully wrapped box as a gift, and told that inside was all you’d ever wanted, would you open it? Or would you leave it. Unopened. Afraid, and certain the box was empty, a trick to make you look foolish. Would you give up the chance? Turn down the gift?
Wouldn’t you jump in the water if you knew it was warm? Wouldn’t you dance if you knew you would always be caught in the dip? Wouldn’t you grab the wheel of the boat, jerk it back and forth, knowing there are no icebergs in sight?
Look across the yard. Don’t look at the pricker bush. Make direct eye contact. Nod. It’s safe. Okay, here goes! The windup…the pitch…