I Don't Want You To Know That...
I just finished reading a blog post that presented me with unfinished sentence that made me squirm uncomfortably in my chair.
The invited readers to complete the sentence: "I don't want you to know that..."
The moment I read and completed that sentence, my fears came crashing down on me. I felt like I was drowning emotionally - clawing my way to some invisible surface in the hopes that I might breathe in great gulps of calm and freedom from the crushing anxiety consciously weighing down on me. It was unexpected. I didn't realize there was so much I was keeping hidden.
I feel like you deserve to know some of my secrets. My (selfish) hope is that maybe through sharing, I might get some comfort and reassurance from you... and also that you might feel a little less afraid and alone in the midst of your things you don't want me (or others) to know.
The Loveumentary Makes Me Feel Incredibly Lonely
I started this project with the hopes that I would learn how to be the best possible future boyfriend/husband. I never imagined it would place me at the feet of some of the most amazing couples this world has to offer. I've had the privilege of sitting across from complete strangers at kitchen tables across America as they shared the most intimate details of their lives. In a little over an hour, I've laughed, wept, and cheered over the life stories of newly-made friends.
I have sat in the presence of true love. I've felt the overpowering, radiating glow of true care and affection between two (sometimes more than two) people. I've felt the electric heart-humming sensation of two people who are so mad for each other they haven't been able to keep their hands to themselves for decades.
I've had a front row to true love... and it's made me painfully aware that I do not have it.
Don't get me wrong, I would never take back the experiences of meeting all of these amazing couples, and learning from their years of wisdom and experience. But there are days - typically the days when I'm sitting at home trying to find a friend to spend time with on a weekend, and I realize that most of my friends are married or in serious relationships - where I wonder, "Will I ever get to experience true love for myself?"
I Want To Make The Loveumentary My Life
I quit my job over a year ago to pursue this project. Since then, I've blown through my entire life savings, moved into my parents' basement, and have taken a part time job as a taxi driver to keep the ball rolling. In the last year, I've sacrificed a lot... A steady income, a normal social life, and to some extent, even my health.
I want to make The Loveumentary my life. It's my baby. I've built the site, written well over 100 posts, recorded and edited all the podcasts, and tried hard to build a meaningful community where people can grow and experience more love in their lives.
But I'm scared that I'm going to have to give it up.
At some point, I have to make some sort of justifiable income (I'm working on ideas) or I have to walk away. Taking on a regular full-time job is terrifying. I don't want to go back to normal office life, sitting inside a carpet-walled cubicle for 8-10 hours per day. Sure, it would put money in the bank... but it would also rob me of the time and energy I need to help The Loveumentary spread like I dream it can.
It terrifies me to keep living in abject poverty, but it also terrifies me to give up this dream. I've come so far, but there is no finish line in sight. Every day I feel a combination of excitement and exhaustion. Stress and freedom. Clarity and confusion. Joy and pain.
I simultaneously want the craziness to stop, and never want it to end.
The thing that keeps me going is the constant support, the kind notes, the loving texts, and the uplifting messages I receive from so many of you. If I could live off of praise and gratitude, I'd have enough to last a lifetime. Thank you for that.
I'm Scared I'll Never Fall In Love
I just mentioned above that I've sacrificed a lot for The Loveumentary... much of that (not having a job, living in my parents' basement at 30 years old, etc) doesn't make me into the most desirable of bachelors.
I've told a few people about my fear of never falling in love, and they always respond with, "Oh Nate, don't worry about all of that. It will happen when the timing is right. You'll know when you meet the right girl."
Or they say, "How could you not meet someone? You are becoming an expert on relationships! You're destined to meet someone and have an INCREDIBLE relationship..."
I'll be honest, it's not really the idea that I'll never meet her that has me worried. I'm genuinely scared that everything I've learned over the last year about love, forgiveness, living intentionally, self-care, service, compassion, patience, kindness, and romance will get stuck in my head. I worry that I'm not going to be the quality of partner that I hope to be. I look at my past and I see how I've hurt amazing women that I truly care about. I've been selfish, shortsighted, and inconsiderate despite knowing better. I've closed up and shut down from fear. I'm scared that I won't be able to break the pattern. I often wonder if my imperfections make me unlovable, and my baggage makes me incapable of loving.
I'm worried that after experiencing and learning from some of the most truly loving couples first-hand that I'll still be merely average.
Life is too short to settle for average, and I'm scared that my future is full of mediocrity... because I so often feel incredibly mediocre.
Now You Know
Now you know my secrets.
So, what are you scared to tell me (or others)? If you're comfortable, share your vulnerabilities in the comments. If the comments are too public, I'd love for you to drop me a line (loveumentary[at]gmail[dot]com) and tell me privately. We gain strength when we can share each other's fears and weaknesses. If there's anything I can do to help you, I will. I promise.