My bartender therapist asks
do you think your problem
is that you’re too nice?

I don’t need to think,
I know it is. 
But why should I have to sacrifice what I believe
to be the best version of myself 
for some kind of lasting happiness?

I told the kamikaze girl
that if she went over to his place,
he would have sex with her and then
she would never hear from him again.
I held her a week later while she cried,
wondering why he did exactly that.

Then there was the windswept girl
who couldn’t land where she wanted
because of a man who thought they belonged together.
We drunkenly made out once
but we never talked about it.
Ensuring her safety was more important.

Then there was the perfect girl, my silent yearning,
always acting the flirt for men’s attention
without ever following through.
I fell hard into her spike pit trap, yet to this day
I question if I had any right
to bring her down with me.

Rejection is mine to deal with.
It does not belong to anyone else.
Nobody’s responsibility is to not reject me.

However, constant rejection has an effect.
It makes me think there is something wrong with me
and self-esteem falls to pieces.

How does one keep going in the face of this
without giving up or lashing out?
What if I was a little less resilient?

Silence has been my answer.
You can’t ever miss if you don’t take a shot.
Can’t hurt more if you stop taking risks.

But even if you try to sit still,
the river of life keeps flowing.
Eventually it carries a lovely new story
that forces you back into the turbulent currents
of hope versus reality.

No, her smile is not attraction, but maybe…
That touch on the shoulder was general affection, not romantic
but it still reverberates through every bone in my body.
Give out compliments like oxytocin bombs
on the off chance that possibility explodes forth in her heart.
even when every lived experience has taught me
it’s not worth it.

The rapids are growing ever closer now.
I know I’m about to get hurt again
because I love hard and give full with self-abandon–
I so miss being emotionally naked with another
and I just can’t deny the motion happening inside of me.

I’m falling in love again.
I’m fucking terrified.