M has always been a demonstrative man, always expressive and giving hugs, holding my hand, sitting near me, putting his arm around me. For years, I shrugged it away. I wanted it so badly, needed it even, but needing it made me feel something I wasn’t ready or able to feel. I needed to feel worthy of the affection, as if I brought something equal to the table. I needed to feel safe, but I wouldn’t allow myself to trust enough to do so. Many times, I deflected his expressions of affection, pushed him away, and even made him feel bad for bothering or interrupting me. Or, even worse, sent him mixed messages by telling him he should have shown affection when I’d pushed him away a million times before. I just wasn’t in a place to allow myself the vulnerability to communicate openly and honestly quite yet. Not at the level to which I needed to do so.
The more I let go and the more vulnerable I am, the more he takes control, the more we fit, filling in all the spaces left by the other. He allows me to feel small, with his words and his actions….a feeling I’ve never felt before, not in this context. I’ve felt small, but small in the way that I mattered. Small, as in lesser. Never small AND equal. Small and valued. Small and protected and safe.