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  • Writer's pictureSarah Foley

TSS - 031 ~ a crush

Oh my lordy lord. This post is a sickly sweet one. A little palate cleanser after all the dreariness of much of my recent angst. Although, true to me, the sweet is most certainly balanced out with a fair dose of over thought and neuroticism. Right now, I am inhabiting a space as sparkly as it is the opposite. I'm melting into all the cracks between my body and the atmosphere, my body and the structures that bind me to routine, my body and the tiny crevices between safety and oblivion. I can tell you exactly why this is happening, and how disastrously divine the whole thing is. I'm experiencing something wild and new: a crush. I have a mega, humungous, can't think about much else, tummy jittery crush. Fuck me.  


I haven't had a crush like this in a very, very long time. I didn't realise quite how closed off I had become until this feeling hit my body with such vengeance the numbness of before became acutely obvious. It's eating me up inside. I've been giddy, gooey, probably hugely insufferable, and overrun with anxiety since meeting him. I've been doing god's work in self-soothing the parts of me that want to run wild in my imagination, and the parts of me that want to run as far from this as I can. I've been journalling like no tomorrow (25 pages of writing in a week...). I'm well and truly fucked. It feels like I might vomit at any moment. Or cry. In this moment it is hard not to think that the feeling of a crush contains almost more negativity than positivity, vulnerability and fear so intertwined in the high of it all.  


I have enjoyed spending time with the people I've met in this past year, absolutely. I've met some particularly beautiful people, and had beautiful experiences. Throughout this time though, I hadn't been able to embody anything resembling the hopeful knowledge that I will love as much or as deeply again. Nestled in my grief, part of my brain had begun to wonder if I was actually incapable of feeling anything for anyone else. And so meeting this specific person, has felt like waking up. The edges of something ethereal has begun visiting me, and I have been able to welcome it gratefully and with a renewed sense of the preciousness of presence. This feeling of meeting him has consumed me. It felt immediately, starkly different, and reminded me that when it is good, you just know. What is it about a crush that feels like you are simultaneously ensconced in scorching flames and submerged in a warm bath? I feel as terrified as I feel rejuvenated, as carefree as I feel neurotic. I am sure my autonomous hormones are loftily responsible for a large part of the cyclonic fervour of this crush, but I think this is actually just what it should feel like to be alive. In comparison to the feelings I've been unable to access prior to this, this moment is crammed with them.  


It isn't completely shocking to me that in this precise moment I've been able to reopen my heart a little. In the last little while, I have entered a place I didn't think possible, a healed one. I wrote in my last post that I was still being consumed by the final trailing lessons of the aftermath of a break up. Writing that post and sharing those feelings, unintentionally did the thing I didn't know I needed it to do. I entered the depths of the grief, laid it out, and left it there. Since then, I've felt clearer, softer, more spacious, and truly on the other side of the largest chunks of processing I needed to do. Of course, I still have gaps of time in my brain that are left scrambling for meaning, but I feel free in a way that I knew I was capable of but couldn't quite envision. It's bizarre to think that after a year of suffering, journalling, discussing and reliving, all of a sudden I am okay.  

 Of course the byproduct of that spaciousness would be meeting someone who sent me absolutely reeling. I wasn't ready for it before now. The moments I have had with this person are the first that have reminded me of the way I felt last time it was spectacular. The moments I have had with him are frighteningly what I had begun envisioning for my next partner. And I am moving overseas in precisely two and a half weeks. FABULOUS. Within the limitations of my time left in Melbourne and the near impossibility of something more happening, is seemingly, frustratingly, my most ripe space for connection.  


What is it about the universe that provides you with so much beauty in the moments you have decided to cast off that particular form of beauty, so unable you have been to see beauty here until this moment. I feel rocked in a way that is discombobulating and frustratingly emotive. I am soothing myself with such tenderness: this feeling is good, it means I am ready to open my heart again, no matter if I am leaving or not. I can't help but feel naked in my disarmament, the walls of the last year clinging to their foundations, begging me to hold onto the safe space I created in holding onto my grief and remaining in a closed place. I have realised, so long as it has been since I've felt anything, that vulnerability is not for the faint hearted. Perhaps the nature of writing so freely about my tiny life might make it seem like vulnerability is not something I shy away from, but that is a specifically curated and conscious vulnerability. What is below the blog, is such tenderness and quaking fear to reveal an actual self. What I am seeing now, is that I don't love often, but I love easily. I err between both extremes of loving experiences: nothingness, an empty disgust of mediocrity that comes freely and frequently; and a nearly unfathomable experience of amorous sensation pulsing through my body, directed towards magic conjured from the greatest part of me.  


And in this space of vulnerability I have been forced to inhabit in meeting this man, my body is being lit up with joy and terror. The bodily experience of spending time with him is innately, constantly pleasurable. There is not a point at which my body does not feel drawn to him, or his words, his actions. Our time together is emblematic of changes I have made in my life to immerse pleasure in all the spaces around sex where I have always felt particular connectivity: food, play, touch, reciprocity. But, as is the deeply protective nature of our bodies, mine is struggling to maintain openness in the face of such terrifying vulnerability. My heart feels full with purpose and giddy excitement, but my sexual body feels uncooperative, and lacking in the abundance that I could much easier conjure in less divine situations. While I know the aim of connected sex is not to orgasm, I desperately want to share that with him. But I haven't been able to. This is not like the last time I had feelings for someone. I have unwound detachment from my sexual script and rewired it to contain cataclysmic sensation. While I can logically understand that this internal disconnect is likely tied up in my uncomfortable levels of vulnerability and a need to keep my so recently mended heart safe, it is creating a sphere of self-consciousness that feels preventative of the kind of connection I might finally be ready for. The sheer fear running through my body at this experience has disallowed complete surrender to my body, perhaps one protective mechanism my body can offer knowing that I will otherwise allow myself to be flooded by the weight of this. While, in the moment, it feels almost ridiculous that I cannot show with my body how different this feels, afterwards I can see the concern my body feels if I were to fully let go. In a moment where I actually want to be seen, I can't let myself.  

How do you practice letting go while holding yourself safe and secure? For this is the nexus where I will be able to move freely towards emotion while cradling the fear in me with such maternal care I am buoyed. I need quiet solitude and the mirroring of my friends combined with as much immersion in nature as I can grasp. I am my most regulated self in bodies of water, and have been desperately seeking this wherever I can. I have been writing furiously, without being able to find clarity in the mountains of words pouring from me. I have been grounding myself in the warmth and care of my love for myself and the extraordinary love of my friends, and am in these moments seeing that I will be okay entering into vulnerability and escaping it where I need to. Where I have always fallen exquisitely and head first into love, I have never been in such a position of possessing simultaneously such high levels of self-awareness and care. I am changed by the love that I have been given and given myself in the last five years both internally and externally. Lessons threaded through subtlety and suffering, exhilaration and regularity.  


In some ways, I feel like I been temporarily transported psychosomatically to the last version of Sarah who sat on the precipice of meeting someone that felt significant. 22 year old Sarah, even elements of younger versions of me are surfacing, gasping for air so long they have been subdued. Long familiar insecurities have begun tracing the edges of my skin, whispers of unworthiness laced with panic. What if I am caught out? My fraudulence spotted with horror. I have been trying to soothe, calm, love, and nurture this part of me, the words of my friends and conscious self drowning out the unhelpful and inaccurate. I am trying to instead, accept the unknowns and rarity of connection as wonderful and scary and that both of those things are okay. It is so easy to forget that relatively recently I still couldn't fathom meeting someone who made me feel any kind of hope, so closed off I had become and disillusioned with dating. It is a mark of the such delightful and eventful passing of time that I met this person in this moment. I am a visitor in the place of Aphrodite again, my punishment and my gift the timing of this. In writing this, I cannot predict even the next two weeks of my being. If all this experience becomes, is all that has happened up until I crafted these words, I will be grateful and unavoidably nostalgic for this feeling until I am so lucky as it happens again. I will always believe that I am alive to love and be loved, and so in these moments most resembling life, I will do my best to welcome the fear with the knowing that actual connection is not at all easy to come by.  




I am writing again a little while after the outpouring of above, to tell you how rapidly my heart tried to falter at the first sign of disconnect. The confirmation bias I am most comfortable existing within gleefully alerted me to my inability to remain open. In the last week of feeling both extremes: excitement and terror, I have forgotten how to just be me. For all that is me, becomes lost under the over-thinking, over-analysing, over-intellectualising. What I have never been good at, is just letting things play out as they will. With such vulnerability and excitement, a deficit mentality is awakened and I forget that love is abundant and in some ways, inevitable. In the last days, I re-entered my precious cocoon, walls extending fiercely around me. I have only so recently emerged from heartbreak, can I really allow myself the courage of extending into an unknown experience? I cannot guarantee at any point, as none of us can, that this won't rapidly and anticlimactically end. In fact, my moving overseas so soon guarantees an impending end. While I know that to be true for anything beautiful, as well as the eventuality that all things change and evolve, the idea of wandering into a space of such connection and intimacy in this moment feels in some ways like a cruel act of self punishment, and in other ways, a perfect gift to myself. Being reminded of the way it feels to touch even the surfaces of the last love that I have known is ultimately serendipitous but has reminded my body that the product of love was also grief. For grief, is love with nowhere to go. I am not sure though, how to find comfort in the truths that I hold that are there are simultaneously never any guarantees, and that it is always better to have loved than not.  

All of this to say, I am both so attracted to vulnerability and terrified by it, and I know I am not alone in this. I am mesmerised by the opportunity to have someone share themselves with me, and feel so grateful to hold someone else's tenderness. I also know that there are very few people walking un-impacted by love through their lives, and that it takes and requires immense courage to accept the inextricability of love and fear. I don't think love is inherently painful, quite the opposite, but I know that the loss of it can be unfathomably cruel. At some point, I am hoping the ratio of this is heavily weighted towards the positive, as it has been at times for me. I know it will be. But no matter how secure, committed and safe something is, there are never any guarantees. Beyond this particular person and moment in time, I will at some point, have to reopen my heart and let myself truly be seen. Fucking terrifying as it sounds. It doesn't have to be now, but at some point, all that I am will become available again. I have come to see the way I love as spectacular, but in doing so, reflect that I cannot freely give this away so hefty the toll to me.  


Recently, I visited my favourite beach near home. It was completely empty, my figure tiny against the immensity of the surrounding rocks, cliffs, bushland, waves. The sun was beginning to set, it was still warm outside. The sun bathed me in light, my body fit into the spaces of that scene with such serenity and meaning. I have explained to people since then, that on that beach in that moment, it felt like the closest I might get to some experience between life and death. Completely alone in the landscape that is my most treasured and pure expression of a natural self, I wondered if this might be where I go when I die. It was a celestial feeling, a reminder of the knowledge that despite my absolute drive towards loving and being loved, we are all truly our own being to carry through the loving and being loved. If I could carry myself with the same depth of love I have for the people in my life, I think I'd be invincible. But you know by now that I'll be working on this until the day I am on that beach, a whole life behind me. 

And so- I suppose that didn't end up being the most positive post, oops. I am once again, here to share this space with you and ask for your thoughts and wisdom. How did you reopen your heart after grief? How do you tread the line between holding yourself safe and letting yourself be truly witnessed in vulnerability? Did you know when you were ready to let go again?  


To entering the abyss, and knowing you will always possess the power to pull yourself out.  


<3 <3 <3  

Ps. images from Pinterest as per usual.



Jun 13

“If I could carry myself with the same depth of love I have for the people in my life, I think I'd be invincible”

Beautiful words as always, I learn more about myself every time I read your work ♥️ Hayley xx

Sarah Foley
Sarah Foley
Jun 16
Replying to

Oh what a gorgeous message! Thank you so much Hayley, lots of love xoxox

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