1. Distance. First, you must hold people at arm’s length no matter how much you want to dig into their skin (because I know you like to do that). If you can, clutch at their hands to let them know you are here and you care. You can still leave fingerprints that way, but they must do the rest. At best, you can only meet people halfway.
2. Silence. You need to learn that you have a second tongue for all the things you want to say but shouldn’t or can’t. This tongue is the ink of your pen. Use it, and only when the words burn in your throat can you say them. But even then there are times you should be quiet. Keep the words from owning you. Cough if you have to get something out. I’ve learned to work my silence like a hammer. Yours can be like thunder or a storm at sea. But with the right people, I’m like a gushing fountain and you can be too.
3. Detachment. Do not cling (because I know you have claws). I know you are a feeling creature and I know it’s how you breathe. And sometimes that can be beautiful. People desperately want to feel as you do. They’re just tired of having it chip away at them, tired of being disappointed, tired of having people abuse their heart only to leave it behind like a bruised apple.
4. Walls. Walls keep people out. They help me see who cares enough to stick around and untangle the parts of me that need untangling. But they can be isolating if you let them. They can leave you lonely and empty and bare. I’ve built walls because I shatter easily; I’m a glass vase. But walls also give you space for a garden no one can touch or steal from you. I’ve spent half my life building walls and cultivating my garden and now I want to show it to people.
—How to not say every goddamn emotional thing that crawls up your throat, for Azra
"He needs his father. He needs his father to show him the way. What way are you going to show him?"
"I’ve always been grateful—even when I was married, even when I thought it was over between us—that it was you I fell in love with."
-Adrien English Mysteries 5 - The Dark Tide
I don’t understand why people romanticize the notion of needing someone. They make these passionate declarations of necessity: “I need you in my life.” “I can’t live without you.” “I need you like I need air.” But I don’t think that’s love at all. To me, needing another human being to provide you with happiness and meaning in your life seems deeply unhealthy and unsatisfying. I imagine that existence to be almost nauseating. To have someone else’s heart in your throat, so that the only way for you to breathe is to have the air go through their heart before it reaches your lungs. To have one’s emotions tied to your own. To be the foundation in a house of cards, where collapse is all but inevitable and a crushing weight with it. I can think of no worse way to live. Someone once said, “A healthy relationship is one where two independent people just make a deal that they will help make the other person the best version of themselves.” That’s what I want: a joining of two independent people.
I don’t want someone to need me. I want them to talk to me, to support me, to listen to me, to sit in silence with me, to tell me about their day. I want them to complicate my worldview. I will not be something they cling to.