Monthly Archives: June 2015

The love I got instead

I wanted love.

I wanted the perfect fairy-tale, storybook fantasy of love.

I wanted the midnight serenades, the breakfast made in bed, the dinner served with wine, the red rose bouquets, the love poem notes.

I wanted the sunset car rides, the beach picnics, the two dogs and two kids, the white-picket fence house with a big backyard.

I wanted the frilly white wedding dress, the self-written vows, the cake on our faces, the toasts that made us cry, the small family wedding.

I wanted the love that everyone on earth has talked about and written about and sang about and had.

But that’s not what I got.

I didn’t get the perfect package of love that I was always told that I would get – if I just waited long enough, the perfect person would come my way.

No, I didn’t get the perfect person.

I got you, and I don’t think anyone could ever come closer.

I got the off-tune singing in the shower, the burnt sunny-side-up eggs, the dry chicken served with a sheepish smile, the white orchids (because that’s my middle name), the texts that said “Love you baby.”

I got the traffic-laden car rides home from the beach, a cooler of drinks but no snacks because we both forgot, no dogs and no kids because we’re too young, and separate apartments because we’re at different stages in our life.

I didn’t even get talks about marriage because we’re far far far from there.

Our love isn’t the perfect story where you sweep me off my feet after waking me with true love’s kiss. Our love isn’t that of Romeo and Juliet or Wall-E and Eve. Our love is more like two wolf clubs playing together – we bite but we don’t know how harsh our teeth are, we wrestle because we want to come out on top, we’re young and immature, but we’re cute and fluffy and full of a thirst for life, and we have the potential to be so much more.

I didn’t get the love I had always dreamed about. I got something better.

(And I know you’re going to complain about how damn cheesy I am, but I know you feel the same).


You and I fit

You look at me with a smile, and I can’t help but smile back.

You smile with eyes crinkled, lip corners upturned, the barest hint of teeth. I smile with eyes almost closed, lip corners stretched, all my top teeth showing.

Your hair is styled to stay in shape, and I leave mine to do as it will.

You have long fingers and pale hands, and it doesn’t look like you’ve done a day of manual labor in your life. I have short fingers and soft hands that are covered in callouses from all my years in a marching band.

You like holding hands, and I hate it but I’ll do it with you anyway. It makes you happy, but you never push me.

You like to wear t-shirts and skinny jeans, and I do too.

You like to drive with sun roof open, and I enjoy sitting in the passenger seat.

You like to wear this big-brimmed straw hat all the time, and I think it’s kind of silly but it looks cute on you all the same.

You like to go to the gym for hours to pick up heavy things and put them down because it makes you feel strong. I dance in the mirrored room upstairs, hips swaying and hands soft because dance makes me feel graceful.

You like to play online video games that take hours, and I like to sit next to you on the bed and do my own thing.

You are different from me, and yet, we fit so well it feels as if we were made from the same piece.

And that’s enough to tell me that we fit, just as well as our smiles in pictures, our bodies against each other, our fingers and legs intertwined, our humor as it bounces back and forth, and everything else in between.

How do I flirt?

Try: Hey, you’re cute

(Think: Wait no, that makes me sound like I’m 12 with a puppy crush.)

Try: Hey, you’re pretty attractive.

(Think: Pretty attractive? Come on brain, why can’t you commit to a compliment?)

Say: Hey, do you want to grab coffee sometime?

(Think: Okay, not bad, but what if they say no, oh my goodness, I can’t handle this pressure.)

Reply: Sure, sounds great!

Say: Awesome, what day works for you?

(Think: Awesome? AWESOME? What is wrong with me? Could I BE any more lame? And when am I even free? What?)

Reply: Tomorrow?

Say: Perfect, works for me!

(Think: I mean, you’re perfect. Wait no. Oh my goodness, what am I going to talk about tomorrow? Did I fail at social norms already? HOW DO I FLIRT?)

Are scary movies scary?

I don’t understand. Why would a horror movie scare me?

Why would blood and gore and the soft steps of a silent murderer scare me?

Why would the the thump of a decapitated boy, the squirt of a ripped out heart, the screams of a young couple – why would any of that scare me?

What could fantasy do to make me feel more fear than I do at reality?

I am afraid of the edge, of how close I’ve been to it, of how I’ve looked to the other side, and lifted my foot up only to step back and turn around, and what if instead of stepping down I had slipped backwards?

Am I am afraid for anyone else who has been at the edge or who is at the edge, because there’s nothing scarier than feeling numb and content and satisfied and knowing that you could do it and just end it right now, and I am so scared for them.

I am afraid of little children not looking both ways before they cross the road, of how risky it can be, of tall SUVs and of old cars not seeing and not braking in time, and what if that new bright little light is snuffed out before it had a chance to shine?

And I am afraid for all those parents who have had too many close calls or any close calls or even that final call, and I am so sorry for those little lights.

I am afraid of the unknown, not of death as it may seem, but I am afraid of not knowing what happens after, of not knowing when after will come, of not knowing if I’ll have done everything and said everything and loved enough and hated too little, and most of all, I am afraid of not knowing if I’ll be remembered.

And I am afraid for everyone who isn’t remembered because I can’t remember you and if you’re watching in the after then I’m so sorry.

I am afraid of the almosts and the not quites and the never agains and the unanswered questions in life, and yet I love them because they are all part of life, and I love life (even if sometimes it feels like I have no reason to) just as much as I fear it.

So why would I waste any of my time watching movies of empty fears? LIfe is scary as is.


  1. It’s 1am when I tell you that I self-injure, when I tell you that I take sharp edges to my skin and etch in bright red lines up and down my legs. It’s 1:15am when I tell you that I have a butterfly drawn in in on y thigh because that’s how I remind myself that self-harm hurts me. It’s 1:30am when you ask me how many people I’ve told, and I say you’re the only one. And you thank me.
  2. It’s been two days since I’ve told you my darkest secret. It’s taken two days for it to finally sink in exactly what I’ve done. And all I can do is lie in bed and think about every word I’ve said to you. Before I know it, it’s already two hours past midnight, and I’m still crying in fear of rejection and abandonment. I send you a text about how much I regret telling you my secret, and you send two back telling me that you care about me and that you will always support me.
  3. The longest I’ve gone without self-harming this year is three months and three weeks, and I’m actually so very proud of myself. I tell you, and you look just as happy and proud. And you show me the depth of your feelings in three ways: a caring a smile, a tight hug, and a whispered “thank you.” It’s three hours later before we finally get back to studying. We were too distracted celebrating with my favorite movie and my favorite chocolate (which you bought because you knew me better than anyone else).
  4. It’s the fourth time I’ve called you in the middle of the night, but this time, it’s so much worse. Because I can’t keep going. I can’t anymore. I just can’t. I’m terrified and broken and sobbing and I’m this close to ending it all right here, right now. I can’t breathe but I’m breathing too fast, my thoughts are racing, my heart is pounding, I can’t feel my fingers or toes, my blood is ice, and my eyes are wild. But you do your best to ground me, and after of four hours, I’m okay to let go of your shirt and pick my head up from your chest.
  5. You end our friendship in five sentences. One, “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Two, “I’m sorry that all of my promises turned out to be lies.” Three, “All of this was my fault.” Four, “I’m sorry I can’t give you more closure than this.” Five, “I hope this doesn’t affect our work relationship.” Everything we’ve been through together, destroyed in five simple sentences. Five minutes later, I’m still standing in the courtyard sobbing, uncaring of all the staring strangers.

But you know, what we’ve been through can’t be reduced to simple numbers. We were more than that. We were hurt and heartbreak, love and healing, life and close brushes with death. We were life, and life can’t be reduced to numbers.

But that’s the only way I can cope. Because if I don’t trivialize it, I wouldn’t be able o stand. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I wouldn’t be here.

Because I burn your things, your possessions, every bracelet or jacket that reminds me of you, but that won’t be enough. Because I know that memories don’t burn. Because I can try to walk around campus and avoid your usual haunts, but I still have to work with you, and I can’t trigger warning your very presence. Because I would have jumped on a fucking grenade for you, but now you’re the one who threw it at me and shattered me into more pieces than I can find and collect.

I’m broken and all I can do is tell myself to breathe in, hold for five seconds, breathe out, and repeat. I’m going to be okay.

Suicide did not defeat me one, two times, and neither will you.

Darling, I want your heart safe

Darling, if I could protect you, I would.

If I could protect your heart, I would.

But I can’t.

Because you need to love and you need to hurt from love, and that is the only way you’ll understand what love is.

But darling, if my words could have any effect, I would tell you everything I know. And I would tell you what love is and what it is not and how to tell and how to be safe even as you figure it all out.

Because love should be safe.

Because the person you love should feel like home, because being in the arts of that person should feel like coming home.

Because love should be laughing and crying and staying together through all of it.

Because the person you love should make every moment of life beautiful and worth it.

Because the person you love should light the fire of passion in your very being.

Because the person you love should be your rock in the eye of the storm.

And if it is not those things, then darling, I am so sorry, but it is not love.

If you are not comfortable with that person, then it is not love.

If that person’s words and actions hurt you as much as they touch you, then it is not love.

If you cannot do what you would when you are with that person, then it is not love.

If you have to light yourself on fire just to keep that person warm and happy, then it is not love.

If you would drown to keep that person’s head up and above the waves, and they would not even get into the water for you, then it is is not love.

If that person dares to insult you or manipulate you, or god forbid, raise a hand to you, then get the hell out of there darling, because that is not love.

Darling, love is safe and comfortable, love is happiness, love is give and take between you and your person.

Because you and your person, if it is love between you two, must be happy and healthy.

Because your happiness and health are most important darling.

Because even if it is loveyour happiness and health are most important darling.

Because if you love your person and your person loves you, then your happiness and health will obviously be most important.

Because darling, love puts you first, even if you do not. And that’s what love is.

And it might not always be love, and that’s okay too.


I can’t sing, at least not well.

And you say you can’t either.

But that doesn’t stop us from singing along to every song that comes on the radio, even if we don’t know the words, when we’re driving with the sunroof open and not a care in the world beyond what food adventure we’re having next.

But even if we can’t sing, I can still hear music when I’m around you.

Every one of your sentences is a song: each word a verse, each pause a bridge, each stutter a staccato rhythm, every breath a swell of music, and every exclamation a climax. And I could listen to your songs all day.

But my heart plays its own music in response to yours, with every accelerato rapidly increasing my heart rate just because I’m near you, with every rest as my heart skips a beat when you look my way, with the fortissimo loud beating of my heart when your face is close to mine.

And when we’re ever closer, lying side by side, our breathing plays a duet, at sometimes synchronized and at others weaving together intricate bars of a calm, quiet music.

We can’t sing, but I will learn every one of your favorite songs on the piano just to see you smile.

We can’t sing, but I’ll sing out the beating of my heart if only it would make you happy.

I can’t sing, but I will serenade you with every love poem that I write to convey how much music you bring to my life.

And I don’t need you to sing either.

All you have to do is say yes.