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Being vulnerable is not easy for me. Divorced parents and previous emotionally abusive relationships have led me to scare easily and run away from letting people in. For the first time in a long time, I finally told someone how I felt about them and it immediately did not pan out for me. However, I’m still grateful that I did it.

On one hand, it is a big step for me. Four years ago, the last time I recognized any type of “crush” for anyone, I didn’t think I would be bottled up for so long. But at a certain point, it becomes easier to avoid any scenario that could lead to you being hurt. I was so terrified of opening up to someone because I’d seen others in my life use all my intimate secrets and fears against me when the relationship went south. I’d spent so long feeling nothing that it was genuinely surprising realizing I liked someone. It’s not a problem or unnormal to go awhile without feelings for someone, but for me, it came at a time where I needed to be reminded that I was still capable of feeling that way for someone. I was a little bit scared I was broken beyond repair. 

woman holding mans hand
Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels

I wasn’t even really sure I’d be able to articulate my feelings because of my deep-rooted fear of rejection. I thought, well nice to know I can still feel that way, but no chance I act on it. When I did say how I felt, it was freeing. Did it end up being embarrassing? Yes. Did it end up getting me hurt again? Yes. It’s helped me understand that it wasn’t for the guy I liked, it was for me. It was to remind myself that risk is a part of life and if you end up hurt sometimes, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back up again. 

I have gained a new appreciation for people who constantly put themselves out there. That being said, I have no clue if I could stomach this again anytime soon. I wish I had the confidence to do so, but I’m still picking up the pieces of rejection. It’s hard when on one level, you know you deserve better, but on another, you can’t help thinking: why not me? Why can’t someone just return my feelings? Is there something so wrong with me? I feel like I’m back in middle school wondering why my crush doesn’t like me, but that basic internal questioning will always exist. It’s the most natural thing in the world to want people to like you but is simultaneously something you’re told not to worry about. You can only truly control yourself, but wouldn’t it be so much nicer if you could just know how everyone around you perceives you? Maybe I’m just a control freak, and maybe these are all vague points that only apply to me, but I’m glad I got a shot at being vulnerable even if it didn’t play out. I’m proud of myself and got a taste of how nice it must be to be open with someone who truly deserves it and cares about you. I know that is in store for me soon and I know I’ll try again, not too soon but eventually. And that’s a nice thought to have for once.

Girl Holding Her Knees
Breanna Coon / Her Campus

Casey Leach

Kenyon '22

Casey is a senior English major at Kenyon and is most likely either watching reality tv with her roommates or drinking diet coke at an inappropriate hour. She is also a huge advocate for reading rom-coms on her kindle and making bad jokes.
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