I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire
By Z Zoccolante
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m interested in magic and fairytale. For much of my life I’ve said that I’d love to be a vampire – being able to live forever and have magic powers, feeling like nothing in the world could touch me. I could roam the streets at any hour with the ability to wander anywhere I chose without fear of anything. Feeling like the most powerful creature around.
But today as my dog and I meander through new streets in my neighborhood, I take it back. Being a vampire means living with the downside – holding the memories of thousands of years of pain, all the events, all the heartbreak. Sure, there’s joy too, and beauty, but the weight of all is too much to bear. It tips the scales. As a therapist I have listened to stories of others’ pain and held myself with them in that space with moments that have felt unbearable to share. I think this is why we don’t remember between lives. We would crush under the weight of it all. We would go searching for things and people in the past to finish those stories, when the plan is to flow forward on our soul’s evolution.
There is a polarity that lives in me. One that outstretches its arms towards the beauty here and another who longs to be invisible in the emptiness of everything.
One of my teacher’s once told me that my heart is so strong. But I’m tired of being strong. I want to trust fall back off the platform of a tree into gentle arms that say, I got you.
When I’m making a latte, for no conscious reason in that moment I can pinpoint, I begin to cry. Recently, a friend and I talked and she said she was struggling with being happy, finding things to be happy with. It felt as though she woke up and just got through her day till the end when she could get through the next. I remember in my eating disorder recovery writing about that phrase, thinking if I could “just get through”. . . just kill me now. I didn’t want to just get through life. I wanted to really live and thrive. But I tell her I feel the same. Going through motions, knowing that I actually have a really great life and still . . .
Since I was a kid there’s been a thought that moves and shifts under the current, that whispers every now and then, what’s the point of anything?
Triggers are fascinating bullet holes to personal pain. For a little over the past two months, I’d been dating someone I really liked. One afternoon, he gets triggered over a text and I recognize something happened and call him. It’s our first conflict. He doesn’t pick up but says we’ll talk later. My anxiety goes to level 10 as I text that I want to hear what’s going on when he feels ready to share. Two hours later I get a text message where he breaks up with me saying that we are not aligned and wants to do this in writing to avoid controversy. I hold my phone as I read the message – no emotion comes as I check out, completely numb.
My best friend tells me that she knows when I’m in love because I get this smile on my face. “Like the one when you’re holding that flower,” she says, and I know what she means. It’s later that night that I find that old photo and sob like I haven’t sobbed for years as though the ocean is pouring out of the space in my chest.
The thing is, I have no problem with someone not finding me a fit for them or their life. That’s the reality of dating. It’s sad for my heart, but I want to be with someone who also deeply wants to be with me. But this massively triggered me because in order to respect what he asked for no back and forth, it essentially took away my voice. I had also been there for the two plus months, and my energy and time was also spent building this connection and I felt angry and hurt that this was a one-sided conversation.
It’s not cool or kind to break up with someone over text. A text is something you send after a date or two, not after investing time with someone and having future plans. But I was upset and felt disrespected that this person didn’t think I was capable of having a kind conversation around him not wanting to date me anymore. I can be upset and hurt and still treat you with respect. And it felt sad to me that I wasn’t even being treated like I’d treat a friend.
I was honestly shocked because just a week before we almost bought tickets for a trip in August. It felt mean and shitty because I felt as though he had been gathering secret data on me, not sharing it with me at all, and then when the first trigger happened he just peaced out. There was no conversation about things that were not aligned with him. There was no hearing each other out and seeing if there was a compromise that worked. There was no invitation to a conversation that involved me. Plus, if something is valid, and I can see that it triggers my partner, I may be willing to change things. But there wasn’t even a willingness to try, or to even have a conversation about it.
I remember years ago when I slept on the couch and my ex-husband was super upset that I hadn’t come to bed. I thought he was being ridiculous and controlling until I asked why it was important to him. He thought about it and shared that he had witnessed a family member not sleeping in the same bed and they had a disconnected marriage. With that explanation my heart softened because it was about him wanting to feel as though we were connected, not about what my brain was telling me, that it was unfair and he was trying to control me. Once I understood why that was important to him it made sense to me. No problem.
Like I said triggers are fascinating bullet holes to our personal pain. I have no doubt that the person I recently dated was triggered by his past. What I’m still frustrated with is that he has no idea how much his behavior triggered me and my past wounds. Maybe I’m sad that he doesn’t care.
The way my ex-husband left was shitty – it came out of the blue where I felt as though the rug was completely pulled out from under me, with him refusing to allow me a voice. He didn’t give me an honest explanation, and there was no conversation. It was just his decision and he peaced out. It imploded my life completely for a while as I felt like a bomb had exploded inside my body, and my life, and shrapnel was everywhere.
Welcome to my most hurtful trigger. Yep, thank you. And even though I was only dating this person for a short bit and my life will obviously move on, it still hit all the wonderful, deep and most painful triggers that lie in my heart.
I don’t think he’s a mean person. While we were together, he showed up in ways that were fun, caring, and sweet, and I was excited to be with him. But often we are all just living from our own triggers and it makes me sad that we as people don’t hold each other’s heart more gently. Life is full of hard things and the kindness we show people matters. Giving people closure even if something is uncomfortable or hurtful or ends, can be the difference between healing or unintentionally pressing a thorn in someone’s sore spots.
What I realized is the importance of having my voice, of being able to express myself. This is probably important for all of us but for me it’s vital. I also realize that’s I why I write. That’s why writing in my journal kept me alive for years in high school. I had a way to express myself even if that voice was only to me.
So magic and fairytale will live on, but perhaps my desire to be a vampire will slide away, because my heart is soft, even though people claim that I’m the nice/cool girl. I am, but I think that people forget the effort it takes for me to consciously be nice when triggered, to be kind when my heart is breaking, to respect others even when I feel hurt. Nice comes with effort. Nice is who I am because I deeply value being nice and kind, but often people don’t see the work behind the scenes. So yes, I am nice and I am cool, but I’m so much more than that.
My vampire heart is tired so I’ll give it up for now for a human one that wants to rest for a bit. And for now, me and God will hold my heart. As he said to me once before, palm of my hand.
And that’s where my little human heart will be placed. In hands that I trust have got me.