Your Eyes Haven’t Lost That Sparke…yet

This post is part of the Choosing Vulnerability series. Read more about it here.

When I was solo traveling in Costa Rica I spent a couple days with a guy I met at a bar. An architect.  A weakness of mine. A man with ideas to better the world, to create beauty with his hands. He cooked me breakfast and gave me surf lessons. He didn’t ask my age until just before I walked out the door. I told him to guess. I was 23 at the time. When I asked him how he guessed correctly he said, “Your eyes haven’t lost that sparkle yet.”

I've posted this picture before, but it's relevance is the same here.

I’ve posted this picture before, but it’s relevance is the same here.

Three years later on my 26th birthday, I felt strong, but a little broken. I remember my conversation in Costa Rica with the architect and how he said that life beats you down and hardens you. I keep thinking how I’m not ready for that yet. I don’t want my heart to harden. I don’t want to grow cold to life. I look back on the past 6 months or so, and while there has been so much goodness, there has been heartache as well. Most of which involves being disrespected by men. The two most painful cases happened at the beginning and end of summer.

For a long time I’ve dived into connections with people with the full knowledge that they could leave at any moment and so could I, that life is fleeting, that everything is temporary. I’ve opened my heart as wide as it could possibly open because I’ve wanted to experience love even if it meant suffering. Love in the moment. Bathing in the rays of tenderness. Authenticity. I live for moments like that. But after the pain of my interactions lately, I’ve felt unsure. I don’t want to prevent myself from living in the moment or to be closed off. I want to remain open to life and all the possibilities it brings. Yet more than ever I feel the need to look out for myself. Continue reading