and being loved by me
1. You will have a lot to learn. You will have to learn the way I speak and the way I keep silent, how to tell when I’m angry, sad, or just really tired. You will have to learn what picks me up, what to say when I call you at 1AM and I’m crying. You will have to learn what works, what only works one time, and what will never work. You will have to learn me. You will have to memorize me.
2. You will get very confused. I confuse everyone, even myself. No amount of learning will save you from getting confused ever again. The signs that I told you about will get all mixed up once in a while, and you’ll follow them to the wrong place and have to start over.
3. You will have to be very patient. I’m a work in progress, ultimately stubborn. I need plenty of time and space, even after the plenty of time and space I’ve collected in my life so far. I will always need it. We will always do our journey slowly; getting to know me, getting to know you, making mistakes, learning from them, growing older and closer. We will get better, but you will need to wait for me.
4. Let’s be honest. The hardest person for me to love is someone who cannot be honest and open with me. Someone who turns out to have been lying to me, hiding things from me, or telling other people things they should be telling me, is someone who will lose a lot of respect from me. I once said that I’d forgive almost any crime, failing, or hurt from someone I loved, so long as they were honest with me about it.
5. I believe in tough love. This may be hard to remember along the way, when I am so sensitive and vulnerable to everything. But in line with my love for honesty, I want you to tell me when I am wrong and, more importantly, how I can correct myself. I love you and I want to be better for you. Hopefully, you will feel learn to feel the same and let me give you my tough love too.
6. I don’t believe that love has to hurt. I mean, it will hurt. But that is not love’s fault. It is the absence of love. It’s life, what with it constantly trying to teach us something or the other. I believe that love is what heals us. Love is what makes it better, and love is what brings us back together. If we fight, it is because we are angry, not because we are no longer in love. If we fight, I will still struggle to tell you I love you above the anger.
7. I believe that love is powerful. Powerful enough to penetrate my skin and flesh and make itself at home in the crevices of me that I never knew existed. It makes its way into places that we don’t want to be touched, but when we get there it’s so hauntingly beautiful. That’s the kind of love I need from you, and that’s the kind of love that I am willing to give you. If it’s the kind of love we have, we will feel it in our bones.
8. We say love in different ways. Sometimes I show the people I love that I love them by spoiling them, materially. I can treat you to lunch, buy you shirts, pay for rides at the amusement park. Most of the time, I say “I Love You” with all kinds of words except those three. When something means so much to me, I write a lot about it. We will say love in different ways. But let’s make sure we say it.
9. These “rules” can be bent or broken. These are things I have learned and gathered along the way, by falling in and out of love. These are things I have seen and felt from experience. But they are only experiences, not rules and not necessarily patterns. They can change. Especially if you want to change them enough.
10. I love you. Simply and truly. I don’t go into love half-assed. Well, maybe sometimes, but I am resourceful with feelings and love grows quickly within me. I don’t have a lot of other things to give, but if love is what you’re here for, then sure I’ve got a lot of that, even if it terrifies me to give it away sometimes. Give me your love and I’ll give you mine.