Do you ever feel like you exposed yourself too much? Like you let someone see the raw, real part of you and now you’re just waiting for them to run? Faster and faster until they’re so far from you that they forget you exist at all?
It’s that moment in between that’s so difficult: The moment when you’re not quite sure whether they’ll sprint the other way, or turn around and expose themselves, too.
The see-saw swings back and forth, between betrayal and love, and you panic. You send yourself into a nervous fit, an anxious mess, a confused trance. Everything you believed about yourself feels Right There, but at the same time like it is slipping through your fingertips.
What is this moment? It’s the moment of truth in a relationship. And how each person chooses to act in that moment could not be more crucial.
Too many times, I have stood there while the other person runs.
I am not looking for runners, anymore.
I am looking for stayers. I am looking for people who have the courage to turn around and say, “me too,” and, “tell me more,” and, “I hear you.”
This is hard to do.
I’ve had plenty of people walk in and run back out. But the ones who have stayed will be with me forever. And I will be with them forever, too.
This has been a particularly hard season of people running away. People I love dearly and always will love, but people that chose to run instead of stay. I’m not saying it’s their fault. Maybe I said too much. Maybe they said too much. Maybe we didn’t properly stop at that see-saw moment to assess where our relationship was actually headed. Vulnerability is tricky, and though I run a blog about it, I will never pretend to have it figured out.
As I head full speed into my last semester at Duke, I can’t help but be grateful for all the stayers. Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to find them all without some runners in there. Maybe every relationship needs a vulnerable moment to assess whether that relationship is truly meant to stand the test of time.
And as I surprisingly get to know new people this semester, I am shocked and grateful at how our entire lives present opportunities for a beautiful, vulnerable crossroad. Every day, we have the opportunity to choose and stay, or to run. We can’t stay for everyone. And that is not necessarily anyone’s fault. But those for whom we do choose to stay become Our People. The People we call at 3am. The People with whom we share our deepest dreams and darkest worries.
My hope for each and every one of you is that this semester, this season of your life, is filled with Your People. Not your exclusive group of friends that take Instagrams together.
The People who will always stay. And my deeper hope for you is that you remain open-minded to new people who want to stay, too, and that you stay for someone else.
In the heat of Sorority and Fraternity Recruitment (Rush), I write these hopes fervently.
Who are Your People who will Stay? How are you orchestrating this semester around staying for others, and letting others stay for you?