I love the way you stay. The way you see me through my mistakes and masks, through the moments I try to hide and the times I unveil the messiest parts of me. I love the way you aren’t running at the first signs of trouble, aren’t already calculating your escape. I love the way you look at me, meet me right where I am and say, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” And for the first time in my life, I believe those words. Continue reading
This morning I paused in the middle of cleaning dishes to watch a bird dance on a little branch outside the kitchen window. I’ve been trying to do that more often—lose myself in the moment, stop rushing and just let the thoughts flow. This little bird, a baby sparrow, perhaps, was hopping on the branch, dancing with another sparrow, their voices blending into one tune.
And perhaps I’ve been romantic lately, (perhaps I’ve always been). Perhaps there’s something in the air; perhaps my own chest is puffed out with the beating of my full heart. Perhaps I’ve been thinking so much about how love simply happens, and how achingly beautiful that is. But those little birds reminded me of humans, how we’re searching and searching and searching for someone who fits. And then, suddenly, our song finds a harmony with someone else’s voice. Suddenly we flit between branches, the sun on our backs, and our bodies swelling with hope, with happiness, with love.
We crave love, we chase love, honestly because it’s so undefinable. We try to define and make sense of it, but we’re only left with emptiness in the wake of heartbreak, or questions in the face of our fear, or an idea that changes with every hand we hold.
We want to know how two souls can be so intertwined; we want to know if we’re foolish to believe in forever. We want someone who will stand beside us, trial or triumph, who will choose us even when we don’t choose ourselves.
But we doubt.
We doubt because it seems easier than believing. We doubt because we don’t want to be disappointed. We doubt because to fall into someone fully is scary. We doubt because, ironically, we’re afraid of being alone.
But the truth about love that we see over and over again, is that it finds us. When we stop the search, the relentless pursuit, when we slow ourselves down and focus on what makes our hearts beat instead of who, the right person slips into our lives with silence and ease.
As we’re minding our own business, moving through our days, learning, for the first time, what it means to be on our own—this person appears—in their mess and wonder and confusion and perfect imperfection. And we build love. Continue reading
You shrug into your seat on the left side of the couch, cushion tucked under your arm and the television on softly in the background. I watch the softness in which your body folds, relaxes. In the pale beige of the tired material, your sun-kissed skin makes a sea of neutrals and pinks. I long to fit myself into the crevice between your arm and the leftmost pillow, to feel the warmth of your chest, a reminder that in people we find comfort. In people we find homes.
Life, lately, has been in juxtaposition. My heart feels steady, but my dreams are running wild—ideas scrawled on paper napkins sprinkled throughout the room, to-do lists with feathered edges, notes and pens and scattered thoughts doing mazes in my head.
And then, every time I look at you, I remember I don’t have to be running so fast. I will get there. But right now, this moment, with you is what I have.
Right now, the space between us is merely physical, soon erased as I nuzzle my chin against your shoulder. Right now, there are no words left unspoken, or emotions hidden behind quiet faces, begging to be set free. Right now, we are in harmony, in rhythm, and I love the way your heartbeat feels so strong when I’m leaning on your chest.
We are comfortable. And I’m learning to be okay with this. I’m learning that comfort is not wrong because it does not have to imply stillness, or stagnancy, or settling. Comfortable, I’ve learned, is synonymous with secure. And to know that where we are is healthy, is safe—that’s more than I can ask for.
With you, I’m slowly redefining how I understand love. Continue reading
You smile at me from across the table. The lighting is low, our voices are whispers, and the breeze moves past the window like a long, steady exhale. I feel so safe here with you. The space between us is not alive and pulsing like it used to be, but soft and gentle, like the warmth of falling into bed at night, like the security of knowing someone is mine and there’s nothing to be afraid of.
You speak and I trace the pattern of the placemat with my fingernail. I wonder how it got like this, so easy. And is that a bad thing?
Love, I’ve been shown over and over again, was complicated. Love sounded like slammed doors and raised voices. Felt like bruises, like scuffs on your knees from falling too much. Tasted bittersweet, like chocolate milk left on the counter too long.
I always saw love as this challenge—that two people would have to fight for and with one another, and that every day would be difficult, but you would choose each other, no matter what.
But sitting across the table from you, the sound of your voice like an old favorite record, the scruff of your beard like a map I want to trace with my fingers, the gleam of the kitchen light in your eyes like the warmth of coming home—I know, now, that love is not supposed to be hard. Continue reading
I will be the arms that wrap around you, the lips that kiss your cheeks with tenderness. I will be the warmth that fills you, the strength that builds within your bones. I will be the breath you breathe—inhale, exhale together—that centers you, gives you peace.
I won’t be, and I can’t be the one who saves you, but I will be the love that brings you back to yourself.
Because you have always been and will always be strong enough to carry your own weight. Because you will be okay. Because you have slipped and forgotten your way, but you are not lost or broken beyond repair. Because this life is filled with moments that will challenge and change you, but no matter what happens I will be here.
This is what I promise: I promise that I will stand next to you when the doubts fill your mind, that I will smile for the both of us when your heart is heavy. I promise that I will speak words of truth and confidence to your tired soul. I promise that I will hold you and never waver, no matter the conflict this life brings.
When your life is spiraling down, when you’ve fallen victim to vices, when you’re afraid of what tomorrow brings and doubt whether you have the ability to conquer it, I will stand before you and simply show you you’re not alone.
I will listen to your cries, shoulder your tears, sit quietly or say what’s on my mind. I will hug you until you pull away; I will simply hold your hand as a reminder that someone cares, always.
When the world falls apart and you no longer recognize your reflection in the bathroom mirror, when you aren’t sure what to do, when you’re angry and bitter, I will kiss you softly until the disappointment melts on your tongue. I will press my lips against yours until that curve of your mouth turns towards a smile.
I will help to put you back together again.
Through thick or thin, high or low, darkness or light—I will fight for you, for us.
I walk up to the hotel bedroom window, press my forehead against the cool glass. Outside, the Los Angeles skyline glimmers back at me, soft lights reflected from buildings mixed with the morning haze. Above, an airplane takes off across the sky and I imagine my boyfriend somewhere in a window seat, craning his neck just as I am to search for something recognizable—the roof of our hotel, the outdoor Jacuzzi where we sat side by side just hours ago, the hot water creating steam from our cold bodies as we talked about the future like we had all the time in the world.
The plane pushes higher into the sky and I feel the rumble of the engine in my chest as it rises. And then the heaviness as the sound fades and I’m left with the quiet of this room, the thick glass window a barrier between me and the rest of the world.
In a room across the way, I see an older man eating breakfast, scanning the trajectory of that same plane. I wonder if he has someone special on that flight. If he, too, is watching what feels like half his heart disappear into the clouds.
You will never find love if you are forever searching, if you are peeling back the layers of yourself and analyzing every thought and insecurity as a measure of your worth. If you are evaluating yourself based upon the relationships that have come before and broken, by the people who couldn’t promise themselves to you in the same capacity. You will never find love if you are so desperate for it, thinking that without this component, you are somehow less than whole.
Love is not the epitome of your being.
Finding someone and learning to dance around this messy world will not solve your problems, heal your pain, or teach you who you’re meant to be. Only time, and trust, and mistakes, and selfish pursuit will teach you that. Only falling down and learning to let go. Only allowing this life to shape you, but never break you.
Love will pick you up off the ground when you’ve fallen, will give strength to the wings already cemented into your back. Love will fill your lungs with new air, will show you who you are even more capable of becoming, alongside someone who values your growth as much as their own.
Love will lift you from darkness, but you must do the rescuing yourself. Love will give you one of the most beautiful pieces of this life and watch as you bloom under its care. Love will reopen and renew all that has come before, mend bruises and heal breaks, help you restart and move forward with knowledge of how to share your heart fully and deeply.
Love will teach you how to begin.
I just want to write poetry today. I just want to lose my mind in the words and not thing about anything else. Not think about the dishes piled in the sink, the trash that hasn’t been taken out, or the laundry in the basket in my closet with the mirror-doors—the ones where we laughed at our reflections, telling stories with our eyes. Continue reading
“Love is messy,” she says,
and I want to know what she means—
is it soft, like clay beneath your fingernails,
is it like syrup, sticky and sweet on your lips,
is it dirty clothes in the hamper, footprints
on both the linoleum, and your heart?
Is it all the ways we’ll fight and scream and fill
the house with our loud imperfection?
Is it how I willingly accept all this—
and you—without hesitation? Continue reading
I met some men the other night, friends of friends. One of them was patient with me, tender, even with his calloused hands. His thumb and pointer finger pressed softly against mine, guiding my hold an inch lower on the pool stick. “There,” he said, “Like this.”
I could feel the ridges of his fingertips, brittle and brown from the stained wood and ink he worked with. They reminded me of your hands—the ones that can tie knots, can fix leaks in bathroom sinks, can change oil and tires, build shelves, and hold my face gently between palms. Continue reading