High Place Phenomenon

I read somewhere that our body actually craves adrenaline. I drive across the same bridge every day and sometimes I trick my body into thinking we’re jerking the steering wheel as hard as we can and free falling. No, I don’t want to die. But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Free falling? I read that everyone occasionally tricks their body into an adrenaline rush without even realizing they’re doing it. I think back on the instances my body has played tricks on my mind… you’re not good at this, said my legs, giving out from underneath me before I could cross the finish line. Go back to bed and try again tomorrow, said my temples, throbbing through another morning migraine. He doesn’t love you back, said my hands, resting on the couch between us, waiting for his hands to remember that I was there.

I understand the benefits of having a relationship. Despite forty or fifty percent of couples finding themselves in the car or under the sheets or on the couch, hands not touching, wondering where they went wrong, I understand why we still believe in soulmates. I do find it unrealistic to anticipate perfectly fitting another person, but I think human beings were built to be together. Isn’t that the point of writing? To make two people, writer and reader, feel less lonely? A partner helps fill the gaps in your heart before your brain takes over.

When you’re alone with just your heart, your brain and your body, self-love is not just a pretty concept, but a means of your well-being. If my brain can trick my body into thinking we’re driving off of a bridge to get an adrenaline rush, it seems unfair that my heart has to be in an ongoing war with my head in order to properly care for myself. Sometimes it feels like only one of them comes out of battle alive. If my body can only work with one at a time, I’m left with two options; my head: too practical, too hardened to penetrate my cynicism, or my heart: exploding at the slightest touch, ready to bleed out in the palm of a stranger’s hand.

My heart craves connection the way my body craves adrenaline. I let myself be vulnerable for the same reason teenage girls tiptoe through haunted houses. Our urges to open up, our urges to make love, our urges to submit ourselves to outright terror… they remind us that we’re alive. We have an unmistakable will to live and a deep capacity for love; but it’s exciting, isn’t it? Free falling?

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