to feel love, you must be known

– Donald Miller

I have spent so many years avoiding being known. there is a classical idea that the oldest type of magic is naming magic. that if can name something then you control it. I have devoted a lot of energy towards the pursuit of loving people I meet in a way that is new or unprecedented for them. without realizing it, this process has been largely about getting to know people, learning to walk through walls and armour they have. learning to see and understand the baggage they carry.

During this time I was learning to construct my own defences. I guess it was with a motivation that if people couldn’t get in then I couldn’t be hurt. who knows, the subconscious is a strange, strange place. consciously I have always been a chameleon, joking that I want to be a myth. it comes at no surprise that few people actually know me.
My greatest fear for a long time has been that I would never meet someone who loves me like I could love them. whenever I express this fear friends are quick to jump in and say that I will be surprised, that I just haven’t met them yet. this was an idea that I could get behind. the unpredictable nature of the future is my favourite property of time.
then, a week or so ago, Donald Miller tweeted the leading quote. no context. no commentary. seven words that would upset everything I know and dominate my mind ever since.

my greatest fear is a situation of my own creation. to avoid being named, to avoid being vulnerable or weak, I have prevented myself from being loved.

what does this look like going forward? I’ll likely be just as mysterious as ever. fundamentally changing the person that I am seems unlikely. however when people get past my defences I won’t run away. when someone genuinely knows me I will embrace the inherent vulnerability of the situation.

when someone uses my name and it stops me so completely that I feel it physically I will no longer feel it as whiplash. instead I will recognize it instead as a side effect of being known.
then the love can come.