When I look at you, I don’t wish to see perfection. I don’t long for a face without age lines, eyes that don’t tell a story. I don’t want a body that is chiseled and carved, every muscle flexed, not a hair out of place. I don’t wish for someone who never makes mistakes, who stands before me with poise and strength because I know I won’t always have that to match.
I want the man who stands before me with tired eyes and calloused hands. The one whose birthmarks and scars across his skin leave maps for me to trace back over, learning who he was. I want the man who has a story to tell, one of failures and wrong turns, but his just the same. I want a man whose hand I can hold and know, beyond a doubt, that his messy past has lead him here. And he wants to stay.
Simply, I want you. And everything that makes you human.
You have a freckle on your chin—I want to know if your mother has one to match. I want to know if you’ve had it since you were a baby, or it was born of the sun. You have a tattoo down your arm—I want to learn the meaning behind it, how it felt to have the needle carve through your skin. You have a crooked pinky—I want to know when it broke, how it felt, whether or not you cried sitting in that doctor’s office, whether or not you were alone.
I want to rewind back through the chapters of your story, reread and absorb them, write little pieces of me into each page. I want to discover all the hidden parts of you, know why and what makes you flawed and love you in spite of those things, because of those things.
I want to love you not because you’re flawless, but your messy heart has intertwined with mine. I want to love you not because you’re perfect, but the exact opposite—and yet, everything I could ever ask for.
I never wanted something that was shiny, something that looked nice, something that had all the ‘right’ components and fell into the category for the ‘right’ kind of love. I never wanted a person who checked off all the items on my list, who was so on the right track I felt lost in comparison.
I never wanted a person without flaws, without mistakes, without failures—because how would he know his own strength? How would he be able to face and fight through adversity? To know which path to take if he’d never taken a wrong one? How would he be able to love me in my imperfection, to accept and meet me where I am and still believe in us?
In truth, I’ve always wanted a messy love. I’ve always wanted a person whose scrapes and bruises would match my own, whose story was filled with dead-ends and wrong turns, leading him exactly where he wanted to be. I always wanted a person who had fallen, because in truth, when you fall you must reach within and find your own way back to your feet.
The world glorifies perfect love, perfect people. We are conditioned to never settle, to search for the right person, to not give up. And while this is beautiful and empowering advice that we should honestly take note of, we can’t live our lives in relentless pursuit of something that’s not even real.
There are no perfect people. There is no ‘ideal’ relationship. But there is life-changing, heart-pounding, door-opening, messy, complicated, imperfect love. And that is far better than any picture we’ve had in our minds of what our relationship should be.
I don’t want anything less than real. I don’t want anything less than a man stepping towards me with his scars, his mistakes, his past laid out in front like a surrender. I don’t want anything less than a man who will come forward, unashamed of the choices he’s made and the person he’s been.
I want a man who will look at my past and smile, knowing that every fall and failure has brought me here, has made me resilient and strong.
I want the two of us—human and messy and beautiful—believing in what we could be.