I was never one to go on a search for love. I actually consider myself a pretty damn good architect- I am pro at building walls around my heart so feelings can’t get in. From the outside, these walls are concrete bricks, stacked perfectly. Many have tried to climb over, but the look remained clean and untouched. On the inside, however, they are stained with graffiti from a love that once tore me apart. Rather than breaking down the walls, he ruined them. He swore it was artwork; he promised he would make it beautiful. But instead, he vandalized it. The graffiti was never meant to be art. It was made to mark his territory. I tried to paint over the graffiti, but the paint could only cover so much. I never wanted anyone to see it. And the only way to do that was to keep people out at all costs.
Then somehow you found an entrance and you sort of stumbled in. I was never prepared for it. But honestly, I don’t think there was ever a way for me to prepare for it. You walked in so gracefully, and you looked at the mess he made. But you never tried to paint over it. You never tried to conceal any of the damage that was done. And you never tried to violently demolish the walls. You never tried to make it seem like the graffiti never existed. Instead, you started taking it down, brick by brick– unfolding me in the most gentle way. You acknowledged that the vandalism was there, and instead of wiping it out immediately, you took the time to understand why I am so damaged. You’re still working on it. You’re still taking each brick down individually. You’re taking your time, and so am I. And for the first time, I am not afraid. For the first time, I’m totally okay letting someone in.
I don’t know what you did but you did it. I don’t get feelings. I have this talent where I could go out with a guy and have an awesome time but not want anything to do with him the very next day. I convince myself that every guy is mediocre at best, so once they’re gone, I’m not missing out on a damn thing. But then there you were. It’s funny because the day you and I were going on our first date, I kept forgetting. I’d be driving and talking on the phone to Jourdan and I’d stop mid-sentence and be like, “Fuck! I forgot I have to get ready for this date when I get home.” If I’m being honest, I didn’t even try. I remember getting ready and calling Jourdan back, asking him, “should I push the time some more?” And I ended up pushing it from 5, to 6, to 6:30, to 7. So I dressed in work clothes. I wore skate shoes. I got to the restaurant already prepared to leave. I was over it before I even got out of the car. I’ve become so accustomed to saying no to second dates that I was 99% sure you were just another name to add to the books. But you were that 1%.
Maybe it was the way you made me laugh with your lack of chopstick skills. Or the way you held me every time I’d mention I was cold. Maybe it’s the way our conversation flowed so naturally. Or the way we judged people together as a team. Maybe it’s the way you got so nervous before our first kiss. Or the way we snuck out of your car to avoid the people in the car next to us laughing. It was so simple, but it was the best first date of my life. And for some reason, I wanted to see you again. And again. And again.
If you were any other guy, I’d freak out after you tried to hold my hand. But I intertwined my fingers with yours like they were supposed to be there. If you were any other guy, I’d turn my head once I saw you leaning in for a kiss. But I met you halfway and came back for seconds. If you were any other guy, I would have deleted all your text messages and blocked your number the second I’d gotten home. But I texted you telling you how great of a time I had, and how I hoped we’d get to do it again very soon. You changed the game.
People often ask me if you make me happy. And oddly enough, the answer is no. You don’t make me happy. I was obviously happy before you came into my life, so you are not the reason for my happiness. However, I will say that you add to my happiness. I am a firm believer that before you add another person into your life, you must be happy on your own first. And the person you add later on should only magnify that happiness, not create it. They should widen the smile you already have. They should brighten the glow that is already in your eyes. They should make the music you already hear sound louder and more clear. Ultimately, your picture should be complete — their job is to make it all hi-def.
And that’s what you did for me. I find it very hard to admit, but I like you. A lot. I’m an extremely unattached person, but for some reason I want to stick to you. And while I am scared of diving headfirst into whatever we have going on, I want you to know that you make my smile even bigger. You make my eyes twinkle more. You make the music way more crisp and beautiful. I was happy. I am happy. But you took a magnifying glass to all of it.
Tonight, I sat in my bed for four straight hours. I’d started getting “unready.” Keyword: “started.” My makeup never made it off of my face, and the only thing that changed was the fact that my pants went from my body to the floor. I just sat there. I sat there and I thought. In my 23 years, I’ve learned that thinking can be your best friend and your worst enemy all wrapped into one. I had everything on my mind — school, work, my past, my future. New relationships, old relationships. And they all clumped together and had me asking myself where I was going with all of it. And how they are all intertwined in one way or another. My brain was contorting a lot more than it’s used to. And I couldn’t handle it.
Tonight, I cried. I, myself, am unaware of the reason. I honestly thought today was going to be a good day. It was supposed to be. I was praying for it. My hair was freshly dyed, my outfit was cute, my eyebrows matched, and so did my socks. Today was supposed to conspire in my favor. But God or karma or mercury or a good combination of all three obviously thought otherwise. I couldn’t even tell you what went wrong in my day because I’m still not even sure. I just felt it. My heart felt it. Something was off. Something in my twisted little brain was spinning in circles like a carousel I couldn’t get off of. I needed to get out of my bed; out of my room. It was as cluttered as my thoughts and I needed to escape. And that’s what I did.
Tonight, I drove up to my secret space. The place I go to when I have writers’ block. The place I escape to when I don’t want to be apart of the world. It’s a place I’ve known about since middle school, and I’ve been going up to on my own since high school. You can see the whole city from here, east to west; north to south. It reminds me that no matter how big this glitter-bombed city is, all your problems are so minuscule compared to where it’s contained. To this day, and since I was 12, it still blows my mind that from somewhere so high up, you could still feel so grounded.
Tonight, I wiped my own tears. And although I wanted him there, I was absolutely fine. Sometimes it’s okay to cry and not know why. And sometimes it’s okay to be alone. Sometimes the only person you owe an explanation to is yourself. Sometimes you’re all you need.
What have you done to me? Just when I thought I broke out of the spell you had me under for five years, I turn around and find myself under a new one. And it’s still because of you. I thought I lost my ability to feel. I knew I could touch. But I thought I couldn’t feel. I’ve become so good at building force fields around myself, that if there are any feelings anywhere close to my vicinity, they would fly back like I’ve pushed them away with all the strength I have in my little arms. It was something I was proud of. It meant I couldn’t get hurt again. It meant I was safe.
And then he came along and swept me off my feet. And my force field was raised like a cloche from a plate. My safety blanket was gone and I felt it all. And I didn’t want to. I wanted him but I didn’t. I paved a road of self-discovery entirely on my own and I was still making my way down. And then he showed up on that road of mine. And I tried to swerve. But regardless, he was there. And I thought the road belonged to me. Only me. I’m too damaged to let anyone new in, no matter how bad I want them.
So this brings me back to the curse — either I don’t feel anything or I feel too much. I feel happiness and sorrow at the same time. I feel my heart beating faster and faster, but I feel it shattering simultaneously. It’s a dream and a nightmare, and I can’t decide if I want to wake up. Your curse is why I’m running away. It’s become so much more than getting to know myself. It’s turned into me not wanting to get to know anyone else, even more so when feelings get in the way. And now I’m torn between wanting to be loved and wanting to be left alone.
Anyone can steal a kiss on the lips. I’ve grown so accustomed to men leaning in that I’m practically numb to the sensation. A kiss on the lips is almost cliché to me. There is no spark when his lips reach mine. I see no fireworks. I can kiss a man on the lips and forget all about him the next day. 14-year-old me would be disappointed. 22-year-old me says, “Hey! This is what my twenties are supposed to be like! Fuck off, 14-year-old me!” Maybe I just take them for granted. After all, it is just a kiss. So to all the boys I’ve kissed before: I’m sorry for playing with your mind, but I won’t break my back for you.
But a kiss on the forehead could make me fly. You’re looking beyond my body, reading more than the words off my lips. You’re appreciating my mind, cherishing my intellect. You’re honoring the light in me, just as I will do with you. You’re not lusting after me. Your lips on my forehead aren’t asking me to follow you into the bedroom. You’re not undressing my body, you’re unraveling a different part of me; inviting me into that same part of you. That’s where I get my thrill. That’s where my adrenaline stems from. Anyone can steal a kiss on the lips. But the man who rests his lips on my forehead can have my heart forever. And his lips on mine will only taste that much sweeter.
She loved you. Dear god, that girl loved you. You watched her give you all her time and energy. Meanwhile, you laughed in her face and walked away slowly, praying she wouldn’t notice you leaving. You stepped away in centimeters, though she would run endless miles for you. And you didn’t even care. You try to come around again, making it blatantly obvious that you want her back. Using a jealousy tactic, but still trying to be nostalgic with memories from a love that you left in shambles. But a year has passed and she is smarter. Stronger. Better. You try to sink her; to drown her in the sorrow that is broken dreams of a fucked up future. But in the last 12 months, she taught herself to float. She taught herself to fly. And she finally closed the door that you left cracked for a year. She moved on. It took a year for her to repair what you broke. And it took a year for you to realize that you love her. Dear god, you love that girl. You look back and see she gave you all her time and energy, and you try and chase after her. But now her boat’s halfway around the world.
I always referred to you as my eternal dance partner. Now I’m dancing with someone new and it’s like you were never even choreographed into the piece.