Share your heart (even if it's scary)

Heart Magic  by Lalita Ballesteros, 2015

Heart Magic by Lalita Ballesteros, 2015

I’ve been talking about Tinder a lot these days, mainly through my #AskJuanita series.

[For those of you who aren’t familiar with the platform, Tinder is an app that allows you to meet and date others via the internet by either swiping right (yes I like you) or swiping left (no, I’m not interested) to their pictures and mini bios. If the other person sees your pic and likes you too, you’re magically matched and can chat.]

Tinder has the reputation of being mostly a hookup site, but my experiences have been vastly different. In a short month and half, I’ve:

Gone to an Albanian wedding in Toronto.  

Been gifted fresh jam and meats from a local farm outside of Montreal.

Climbed to the top of Mount Tam on a starry, fall night with hours of engaging conversation to follow.

All in all, I’ve met incredibly kind, mostly straightforward gentlemen who have shown me a great time.

Sounds great, right?

And yet, the impulse to run away is all up in this bi*ch.

Let me explain. Let's rewind the clock a bit.

My heart was thumping through my chest.  I was about to meet him for the first time. I was clearly nervous and on the brink of blushing even before my eyes met his, even before I'd left the house.


“I don’t blush,” I joked with myself as I looked down at my outfit.

Running late, house-key now misplaced and Luna (my dog), under the bed, refusing to go outside to pee, I felt the pressure building.

Walking briskly to our meeting spot, I began texting him, apologizing for my tardiness. Suddenly I look up, and there he is, across the street.

Our eyes meet and I nervously apply some lipstick.

“Fuck,” I think. “What am I going to say?”

Montreal has a large French population, and he happened to be French. His English was so-so and I wasn’t even sure if we’d be able to communicate. Thus, the moments leading up to his first words were filled with suspense.

There are moments in my life that feel defining, even in their infancy. Even in their potentially short life span.

This was one of those moments.

I’ve met people I’ve known for only a few days that have completely altered the course of my life. I’ve known people for years whose impact seems carbon neutral at best. And I walk away from these Tinder experiences being continuously shown that time is not always an indicator of impact.

This is the year of marching up to my fears and bitch slapping them.

It’s this delicate dance of both being honest with myself about what I truly want and of releasing the outcome of such desires.

And OMG is that shit scary. I could “fail” and did I mention I hate losing?

It seems that in the face of all things divinely perfect, I freak out at the good in my life. I get legit anxiety around things going in my favor.

I have two major dreams. They’ve been loyal companions of mine since my earliest memories of childhood and have guided my life like silent, slightly manic at times, chauffeurs. They are my deepest, human yearnings. I don’t even like stating them sometimes because they are so near and dear to my big, bleeding heart.

But around these massive desires is a lot of doubt, a lot of fear and a lot of “I’m ‘bout to run out this bi*ch!”

It’s like I can’t stand the possibility of loving something this much and having it all fall apart. And God, I love hard; I go all in. So in the face of even minor setbacks, I sometimes begin packing my things to head for the hills.

I leave before I’m left, kind of. I leave before I’m forced to watch, what for me, is a real life horror film. Dead dreams, in fact, are scarier to me than dead people.

I swallow my questions, eliminating the magical possibility of the other person’s response.

I fear so much the rejection of my deepest, most tender dreams that I sometimes cannot stomach the risk of speaking up and stepping out.

Tinder, in all its glory, pushes me right up against that edge. And sometimes, when I meet individuals that move me down to my core,  my impulse is to run.. hard and fast.

Because the old story is that the good goes and the bad stays. So if it’s good, it may very well be leaving and I can’t risk that level of devastation.

Can you relate? Even as I write this, I’m getting all metaphysical and wondering who the “I” is in this situation?

Who can’t risk such devastation?

The fact of the matter is, when you’re playing your biggest game, when you’re standing for your dreams, the ones that bring you to tears. The ones that on your deathbed would actually matter, you better believe it’s a fu*kin’ battle.

It confronts your ideas around who you are.

Around what you deserve.

And around your own, personal power.

I don’t fear death, but I fear being human.

Death I don’t think hurts, and it’s pretty final as far as our flesh-abiding existence goes, but being human? It can kill you while you’re still alive.

As I sit here, mid face-off with this Google doc, I feel like running.

From the guy.

From the work.

From this post.

From the dream life I’m finally creating after all these years of denying myself joy.

I don’t know how any of it ends and maybe that’s what scares me the most. I don't know that any of us really know. But I realize, I think, that sometimes our task is to stand still.

To sit with the magnitude of our missions and in quiet, ecstatic, scared-shitless reverence, say ok.

Ok, world.

Let’s rock this one out.  

You, me and whoever else decides to come along for the ride.