There will come a day where someone you love very deeply will come to you, and tell you that you have hurt them, cut them, made them bleed.  They will say to you that they love you, and they want only to love you, and that they need you to understand what has happened to them because of the things you have done or not done, said or not said.  And, if you are smart and courageous, you will say yes, because the love of a human being is nothing to let go to waste.  You will hear the wet broken glass of their soul, shattered, grating on itself, tearing itself apart trying to make sense of you, an inherently foreign creature.  If you are very, very lucky indeed, you will realize that you are hearing the sound of a human unmasked, unarmored, giving up and offering truth that can only be paid for in kind.  If you are very, very brave, you will admit that the only response is to watch them bleed, to hear them scream, to take their pain and make it part of you as well, because it would be a heresy to look away, to shut down, to disengage.  It will be terrifying, paralyzing, astounding, amazing, and one of the most painful things you have ever done.

 

Don’t flinch.

 

There will come a day when you see the soul of a stranger in the eyes of someone you love, when you see only distance and calculation where you thought there was a place of tenderness and intimacy.  You will know that you cannot face them unarmored anymore, because to do so is insanity, is inviting the wolf into your home, is bleeding in the territory of a feral creature and expecting it to do anything other than what its nature dictates.  And you will realize that, as you have faced and accepted the distance and calculation from them, there has been a change in yourself.  You will realize that no matter what the world behind your eyes looked like before, it is harder now: colder, darker, more desolate and desperate.  Every separation makes that change, and there are always soft things, delicate things, that you had not realized were blooming until they withered in the iced wind of dismissal.  You will have to accept two things, simultaneously: that being a being of changeableness, this is inevitable.  And that being a being of changeableness, the small buds and leaves will return, because no wind from any outside world can control the vistas of your imagination for long.  It will be frightening and invigorating, excruciating and liberating.

 

Don’t flinch.

 

There will come a day when you will try to find love and softness and connection in your heart and hands and mind, and it won’t be there.  You will search for the tender places in yourself, to give them up to another being, to form a connection.  They will not be there.  You will do everything in your power to root them out, and it will be like chasing mists and shadows, because they will run from you and what you intend.  You will be left with an empty armored shell, devoid of truth and meat and bone, because the things that are true have fled from your designs.  You have two choices, and only two: listen, or suffer.  You must accept one, and accept the consequences of it, and accept that it will have effects you can not yet begin to imagine.

 

Don’t flinch.

 

There will come a day when you try to see through the eyes of love, and all you have is a soft voice in your head that calculates advantage.  You will lie without a second thought or remorse.  You will cheat without seeing a problem.  You will do things you had not imagined possible to people who you claimed to love, and you will do them without a second thought, without a single hesitation.  Eventually you will see the truth: that love and advantage are not mutually exclusive, and that things that come without price tags are often worth more than things that have clearly marked invoices.  You will have to accept the idea of engaging without numbers, of being analog, of taking the price tags off yourself and of taking them off other people.

 

Don’t flinch.

 

There will come a day when you realize the bars that cage you are of your own creation, and that there is no lock on your actions or your self that you didn’t create for yourself.  You will see clearly, perhaps for the first time, perhaps for the hundredth, that the door to the cage has been open all along, and it is only your refusal to crawl out that keeps you confined.  You will see that the world outside that cage is huge and bright and beautiful and wondrous, and the only thing that is preventing you from experiencing every inch of it with every inch of yourself is you.  It will be the most daunting moment you will ever have, no matter how often you have it.

 

Don’t flinch.

 

The world is waiting.

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