Thanks to a childhood of bullying, I’ve got a predisposition to thinking that everyone secretly hates me. I’m also rarely honest with people – including and especially myself. But there’s a small group of people (read: less than 5) who I consider my “circle of trust,” my people to whom I always can fall. Or so I thought.

But it actually turns out that while everyone in my circle loves me, it’s actually not enough for me. And it’s been the source of my unsettled-ness for a long time.

Let’s examine further….

This chain reaction of truth bombs happened when someone that I love a great deal made a comment about my book not being “deep,” like Cormac McCarthy or Toni Morrison. I reacted pretty emotionally, and began writing this long vitriolic journal entry (therapeutic only, and not to be posted) about what constitutes a young adult book, why my book is not, and why this particular person’s comments cut me so deeply (because this person is someone I consider to be in my inner circle).

And that’s when I stumbled upon this little nugget of truth:

There’s so much criticism, anger, hatred, vitriol and meanness spewed in my direction all day, every day. This business is hard, it’s difficult, and you need a thick skin to survive. I am a consummate professional when it comes to dealing with the unprofessional behavior of others, and I – outwardly – let it roll off my back.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t need a set of people to talk with and let it bother me – a circle of trust, if you will. Sometimes I just want to call someone a fucking fucker who can fucking fuck himself in the ass until he fucking dies, and I want to have someone to nod and agree with me that he is a fucking fucker, and they’re sorry that he decided to shit all over me. I need someone to create a safe space where I can let off all my steam built up from my Professionalism.

But that safe space needs to be exactly that – safe.

When I bring the hurt and pain from the outside world into my circle of trust, the last thing I need them to say to me is “Get over it.” Even worse – when those I consider my inner circle start with the criticism, even unintentional and even out of the misguided idea that they’re somehow “helping” me, as this person that I love and admire greatly tried to do.

I think what hurt me most was that it’s pretty clear this person (again, that I love and admire greatly) has not read my book (or maybe they did and still thought it to be shallow). Which got me to thinking about how I often feel like all the people in my circle seem to have other stuff to worry about, and I’m rarely prioritized over those other things. And it’s unfair for me to ask these people to put me above everything else.

Which is how I came to the crying-before-work realization that my circle of trust isn’t cutting it, and I need a Person.

I used to have a Person, my own personal security blanket. Life wasn’t perfect, but I knew who to go to when things got too rough. So when me and my Person split over eighteen months ago, I went on this whole tirade about not needing a Person anymore because Feminism, Romance, and Strong Independent Woman Who Don’t Need No Man. I hated how I had put myself in this situation where I had put all my eggs in one basket, and I never wanted to be in a position where I relied on anyone else for my happiness.

What I failed to realize is there’s a distinct difference between needing a Saving Person (a sign of weakness in my opinion) and the basic human need to be loved by someone.

Oh, hello Lyssa’s Life Lessons she learns in Book 4.

I spent a long time during my quarter life crisis working on myself, with the mantra that I needed to before I allowed myself to be with anyone else. I rediscovered the deepest and the most anxiety-inducing pieces of myself, and you can find the results of that journey on my Book Info page.

Along the way, I leaned heavily on Suni, the “author who lives in my head,” or what I call the side of me that is creative, selfish, and just a little bit insane. She’s the one who seems to be always there for me, she’s the one who “turns it on” at conventions, she’s the one who keeps me company on long car rides. She calms me down without patronizing me, she helps me pinpoint exactly the things that are bothering me through writing (such as this blog). In the absence of anyone else, Suni has become my Person.

There’s just one big, obvious flaw with her: She’s not real.

I need a real Person who loves me as much as Suni does. Not because I need someone to save me, but because I need someone to connect with. Someone to prioritize me. Someone to show me that I’m special and the only apple of their eye. Because I’m a human being, and that’s a basic human need.

When I first wrote this blog post, I began to criticize myself for being so selfish. “You want someone’s life to revolve around you? How egotistical can you be!” But you know what? I deserve to have someone love me that much. I deserve to be treated like a fucking princess.

Because I am worth it.

Oh hello again Lyssa’s Life Lessons from Book 4.

I have finally come to discover my definition of love. It’s not about a pretty white dress, or plastering your wedding photos on Facebook. Love is about prioritization, it’s about being there for the other person when they need you. It’s about understand where you can poke your partner, and where the Line is. It’s about understanding when to offer help and when to Shut The Fuck Up And Listen.

Love, for me, is the giving of my entire soul to another person, and trusting that they’ll treat it like the precious object that it is.

The problem is that I have to work to get to that place, and it’s filled with starts and stops and people that let me down. That’s what makes this so damned difficult, and why I’ve struggled to find the joy in spending time with new people. It’s also why I tend to hold on to things that aren’t good for me because it’s easier than trying to make new bonds.

But I am trying. Every day, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to understand what I need out of people and out of life. Today’s realization was the first I’ve had about myself in a long time, and probably overdue. Now that I know what I want, I’m in a better position to find it.

And that ol’ circle of trust? Maybe we can add a few members. I think it’s time.