Some things you forget. Like how to make a chain of wildflowers, how to twist and tie the stems so that you don’t break them or crush the petals, until you have a long enough string of blooms to loop into a necklace or a crown.
You can always go back and learn it again. Remembering how much fun it used to be, you gather flowers on a handkerchief, already relishing the childlike, uncomplicated pleasure of the task. You try to be careful, but it’s trickier than you expected, and the stems keep breaking in your hands. But so what? There’s a whole field of wildflowers around you, and there are hundreds to spare. You lose nothing by letting yourself fail until you get it right.
Sometimes, though, you forget bigger stuff, things that are more complex and so much more important. Things like how to let yourself be loved.
It takes a different kind of courage, you see, than simply loving someone. Accepting love comes with the risk of relying on someone else’s heart, someone else’s understanding of who you are and what you’re worth. They might be mistaken, or they might change their minds, but if you’re brave you’ll believe them anyway and let them love you. You’ll let them love you on the good days, when you know how to love them back. And you’ll even let them love you on the bad days, when you feel unworthy or empty or self-destructive, because you trust that it won’t scare them away.
It used to be so effortless for you before, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget something even as essential as that. All it takes is one too many mistakes, one too many times when you realize that vulnerability isn’t safe. Heartbreak happens, and you learn the devastating lessons of fear, which crowd out everything you knew about being brave. Self-protection is an easy habit to fall into, and a difficult one to break.
I wonder how you can go about relearning courage. There are no hearts to spare, no infinite number of breaks that you can endure without consequence. Too much that is fragile and precious is at stake. So how can you do it, then? How can you learn how to let yourself be loved all over again?