I (Love) This: Self-Discovery Word-By-Word
Fuck it. Love.
Love when you get the chance.
Love when it does not look how you think love looks — (labels, rings, exclusivity). Love when it looks just like you’d expect: gushing and grinning and how have I not talked to you in an hour? — I’m so in withdrawal. Revel in infatuation and flirtation; settle into the deep and growing intimacy that stretches you in totally new ways. Give up the need to predict it. Let it envelop you up to your neck. Hold your breath. Release.
Let yourself learn, slowly, that the ache runs as deep as the fulfilling of it, that every night you walk away too early is followed by a morning coffee, shared. Learn that open hands are not — in point of fact — more apt to lose. Learn what it feels like to want to scream from the rooftop the same thing you want to wrap in tissue paper and hide under your bed.
Love and be in love. Also: be loved back. Let someone see you — the whole of you — without your pretense, without their projection. Let someone look you in the eyes whether you’re crying or cracking up. Hold you by holding your gaze. Let someone feel what you feel without losing track of where they stop and you begin.
There is, to quote my girl Ily, always something to fall in love with. Fall in love with projects and with people, with hobbies and with humans. Feel it. Feel it come back to you. Feel the person you love love you, the way that builds upon what you feel, and what you feel (in turn, again) builds upon that. Feel it expand into something unprecedented. Shout to strangers about the lottery you’ve won, about the grace and chance and luck that brought you this person.
Let it teach you what is possible.
Test whether you’ll burst, filled past the brim with uncontainable squee. Fall asleep with your hands poised to reply to one more text. Fail to understand why you must ever do anything other than listen to each other’s stories. Feel this. Feel the deeper things — the immense trust, the arrow-to-your heart affirmation, the unbelievable willingness (desire) to see you. Call that feeling anything, including love. Use the phrase “in love” — that phrase which you’ve resisted. Take in those words when they’re used — finally, for the first time — about you.
And know that this — which feels like everything — is the least of it.
Love is a feeling. Love is totally a feeling. It’s giggling in public because you remember giggles shared in private. It’s smiling, as you remember one of the ten different ways she smiles — the eyeroll or the scrunched-up giggle or the grin her mouth cannot contain. Love is the twelve-year-old’s speechlessness that’s all blush-giggle-grin, and the grown-up speechlessness of peace and contentment and gratitude that runs so deep.
Love is that feeling, that whole deep beautiful mess of feelings — but it’s also more than that. It’s an action. A showing up. A willingness to constantly renegotiate the contract, to meet your needs and hers, your insecurities and hers. It’s keeping tabs on your needs and your crazy, so they don’t wreak havoc on the good. And letting someone else know, intimately, the substance of those needs and that crazy. Letting someone bandage the sorest parts of you, when it’s easier (infinitely) to remain untouched. Love is being deeply, inexpressibly grateful for the chance to hold those parts of someone else.
(It’s also trying to express the inexpressible.)
Loving someone else, like loving yourself, is about a feeling — only secondarily. Feelings pass, moods shift, the textures of attachment change. If you’re going to love — yourself, someone else — then do love. Regardless of the feeling. Do love when it’s easy and joyous and fun and when it’s hard and grueling and against your instinct.
The more you do that, the harder it will become to tell the difference… between the difficult and the comfortable, the ache and the joy, the “want” and the “have.”
and hosted this month by Taron.