I’ve been thinking about this concept for a few weeks now. It started with me realizing that people don’t really leave me as often as I thought. They just continue to hurt me and I choose not to move. And I wondered why it is that I keep going back to the people who I know hurt me. It’s like touching fire. Each person is this fascinating fire. It’s exciting to watch and to get up close. But when I reach out and touch it I get burned. Instead of realizing it’s hot and not touching it anymore, I think, “Well, maybe if I just try it this way.” And I touch it again, and again, and I keep getting burned.
I wrote, “It’s like a challenge, a video game level I just can’t get past. I keep trying. I need to keep trying. I need to keep trying and I need to stop. But I can’t walk away from the fire. It keeps me alive.”
I went to sleep thinking about that and realized it’s not touching fire. It’s dancing with fire. It’s like a passionate tango. There is energy and tension and emotion. I did a tango in The Boyfriend with a guy I hated. The energy between us made the dance incredible. The more he made me angry, the more I wanted him. I got to be sexy and angry. He threw me on the floor every night. And it was wonderful. Best dance I ever did.
Dancing with fire takes guts and skill. If you do it right, it can be incredibly beautiful and fulfilling. Exciting. Overwhelming. But you will get burned. I’ve found that once I danced successfully with fire, nothing else would do. I cannot do without the excitement. I cannot do without the fire. I don’t want to get burned, but I need the warmth to keep me alive.
It reminds me of when I was really little and we went to the boat parade with my grandparents. There was a lantern in the sand I warmed my hands on. Naturally, I figured if my hands were warm near the lantern they would be warmer on the lantern. Lol. I burned my hands really bad. Too bad that lesson hasn’t transferred in my brain to people.
Someone asked me why I go back to the pain. It’s usually because whomever I’m going back to gave me something I really needed just when I needed it and I want more. Like a fix. They were there for me when no one else was, gave me a hug at the perfect time, understood, listened. Could be a number of things. And I desperately want more. So I try 10,000 different ways to get it. But it’s a random pattern of reinforcement. Like slot machines. It’s what drives the pigeons crazy. They press the lever hundreds of times because they never know when they’ll get the treat and when they won’t. I’ll admit. I’m a crazy pigeon who dances with fire. And through the blood, sweat, tears, and pain, the dance is usually worth it. But I always, always get burned.