I let go too fast; that's my problem. As soon as things turn crazy or dangerous - gone. I take the nearest exit and before you know it, you can't even tell I was there. Like a bad smell or a dirty look, by the time it dissipates, it's forgotten. Leave it all behind and run because it's better to let go too early than too late. Everything else in the universe holds on too long. What harm is there in cutting loose and flying a little early?

No one really understands you. Personal problem, though. No one holds you accountable for the things you don't tell them. As long as they don't know that you traded your heart to spare theirs and save tension, they can't do anything about it. People need to learn a few things about those around them, y'know. Like thinking that they can honestly change your mind when you're trying to be self-sacrificing. If you're seriously self-sacrificing, there's nothing anyone can do to change you. You're gonna do it, whether they berate you for it or not.

Part of the deal. In exchange for my life, I save others'. By letting go too soon, I allow everyone else to hold on a little longer. And yeah, it hurts me. It means that I'm never gonna get anywhere or do anything I really, honestly want because I'm too busy letting everyone else go. It's taking that adage - if you love something, let it go - way too far. Everything gets pushed away the second they get too close.

And I tell myself that it's noble. That I'm being wonderfully sacrificial and all lamb-like and whatnot, giving up everything that makes a person whole to watch while everyone else takes their fill of my share. That I really want to help them and that's why I escape so soon.

I don't admit - not to myself, not for a second - that it's because

I want to help, you know. They really need some sort of Virgin Mary to take all the strain upon herself to bring them something great. Not that I'm the Virgin Mary. I think God would have to be a little crazy to make me the mother of Jesus. I'd probably tell the kid he was nothing special and get struck by lightning and end up leaving him on my cousin Elizabeth's doorstep - you take care of the little Christ. I'll follow him. Love the guy, but, uh, no.

Taking care of God's son had to have been hell. Ha-ha. Get it? God's son - hell? Juxtaposition of good and evil, a perfect antithesis. That was high-end humor, I'll have you know.

Kind of.

But I digress, don't I? It's all about sacrifice, it's all about giving it all up to salvage another wrecked life so people don't look at yours. It's like getting a thousand piercings - when you've got metal jutting out of every orifice, nobody looks too closely. When you've got good deeds at every corner and a line of quick, scot-free escapes, nobody takes a look at you. Nobody ever asked Mother Theresa why she cared about those hungry kids so damn much. Maybe Mother Theresa was trying to escape herself, too.

It's scary, you know, looking into your own mind. Like running headfirst into a whirlpool or sticking your arm into the lion exhibit at the zoo - you don't know if you can really get in, but worse, you don't know if you can really get out. It's scary, when you look at your history and ask yourself why the hell you run away from everything.

It's right in my face - the answer is

Logical. It's all about logic. You think, well, of course if you do this, then this is gonna happen, and well, seeing as how you did it, then... Time to go. It's all about cowardice and not owning up to your own emotions. If you look too closely, they bite, and they don't let go.

That's the problem with feeling. Emotions don't know when to let go, and so they drag on and on and on all the way into nothing because they can and they want to make you feel more. Like a virus, emotions only care about staying a little while longer. Which is why running at the first sign of danger is such a great defense. If you rip yourself away before your feelings can latch on, then you can get away without the scars. Then the emotions don't make you linger. It's a great vicious cycle - you let go before the emotions can control you, so the emotions don't make you stay. It's beautiful, really. Hard to imagine that me and Mother Theresa are the only ones who thought of it.

Okay, that's a lie, and it's probably in bad taste, too. I don't know what Mother Theresa thought. The woman was great, she did wonderful things, and it's wrong to act like she was some sort of coward because I see myself in her. I see something of myself in Angelina Jolie, too (we both have dark hair, and, uh... I'm sure she drinks coffee. See? We're not so different. Stardom, here I come!) but that doesn't mean I know how she thinks.

Oh, right, that thing about running away from yourself, and not admitting the reasoning. Wall-complex. It's a nice, thick, brick wall that

Breaks down. Everything breaks down in the end. Nothing lasts forever. Not even that nifty stainless steel cutlery set your mama gave you when you moved out. Eventually, those knives and forks are gonna be rust on a junkyard on a dusty little plot of land probably being cultivated by aliens. You think they'd like asparagus? I figure only aliens could like asparagus. And broccoli. You know what? They can have all of my asparagus, and broccoli.

You could call me a great humanitarian, sacrificing my disgusting vegetables to make the nice aliens feel a little more at home. Or something like that. Whatever works, I guess. If feeding broccoli to Mork from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse will make him not blow me up, well then I'll dress up in a bikini and chains to hand it off to him.

Like that? I just incorporated three different parts of pop culture from three different times and three different media to make a great joke. Laugh, damn you! It's funny, I swear! Jeez, talk about obnoxious audiences. I'm hearing crickets after the greatest jokes ever introduced into the English language. Apparently, the insects think I'm absolutely hilarious.

That's another part of the wall, of the letting-go complex, you know. Make up jokes. Like the piercings, it keeps you from looking too close. If all you ever see is happy, ha-ha-ha-ha, I'm FUNNY! You LOVE me because I make you laugh until you piss yourself! then you're never gonna notice the tiny, itty-bitty cracks under the surface. They don't show under that nice humor sheen.

It works so perfectly. No one gets under it. Not a soul.

And that kind of sucks, because I almost wish someone would run up and figure me out and tell me all the things about myself that I know but wouldn't dare admit and that that person would be my freakin' soul mate or something. You don't even get it. I'm cracking all these jokes and pushing away from the people who care about me like there's a fire under my ass or something, while I'm really begging them to see through the laughter. Maybe to follow me when I run away.

But they don't. Ever. And that's why I do it. It's a wall-complex. You build a high enough wall, and even the most determined refugee can't get through, because you have this deluded fantasy that the right person is gonna jump it and they're gonna be worth all the trouble.

It's because I'm scared. It's all about fear, it's all about cowardice. I let go so fast because I'm afraid of holding on too long. Because I'm afraid that if I cling, they'll follow me. I'm afraid of what I want most. I'm terrified that someone will see right through me and know that I'm not some great good-Samaritan. I'm a scared child begging you to believe that I'm a good Samaritan.

If I let go before you can look too close, you'll never notice. If I escape before you can spot me, you'll never glimpse that wall. If I make you laugh, you won't see me cry. If I can convince you I'm not in love, you won't see my heart break.

I'm afraid of me, but more than that, I'm afraid of your reaction to me. And no one knows that, so you know what that means, don't you?

I could be anyone. The person sleeping down the hall. That stranger that made eye contact in the grocery store. Your mother. Your father. Your husband. Your wife. Your son, or your daughter. Your sister, or your brother. Friend, enemy, neighbor, acquaintance.

Or even you.
psychophobia (n) - a fear of the mind.