“and whether or not you stay”

i have a friend who i talk with in two languages. or rather, three. the first is words, the second is silence, and the third is touch.

to say our friendship is my safe haven would be an understatement. there have been times when i’ve unleashed the full force of my pathetic-in-the-moment-so-pitiable self on him, and he’s just been there and held me. calmly. constantly. consistently. and then there have been others when he’s had to deal with my absolutely-hysterical-cuz-i-am-so-happy self and listen to my non-stop singing for minutes at an end (yes, as bad as it implies).

and it’s never been about the gifts we’ve bought each other or the trips we’ve taken together or anything like that. the stone upon which we- and our love- rests on is simply this: showing up for the other and staying. it’s the willingness to be vulnerable with each other and the knowingness that we won’t be judged for what we reveal. it’s holding space for the one you love and being courageous + tender enough to say: this space is only for you. and whether or not you stay, it matters immensely to me.

ii.

we are too quick to shut people out, or rather, to not fully invest in them in the first place. it’s a score-card kind of thing where you are not entirely in but you don’t want to be lonely either so you stick around. friendships, relationships, anything of this type, can never fulfill you. when you’ve got one toe in the boat and the other one out, you are going to get into trouble when the current starts to carry the boat away from the shore. Jump in or jump back on solid land- those are the only 2 choices. there’s no way to arrive at a half-in, half-out deal.

iii.

the thing, though, is this: love doesn’t know half-heartedness of any sort. it is either fully invested or it doesn’t bother. it either digs up a solid foundation that will hold you on your darkest days or it will break down any structure that has no substantial basis to it. that is why, i think, most of us find love scary. or don’t even know it at all. it demands all of us and we are scared to give it our all.  it wants us to take off our shoes and plant our feet when we’ve only ever worn shoes that would help us run the fastest. It wants us to look people in the eye when we have never even fully appreciated the golden flecks that sprinkle the brown in our eyes. when we have spent the better part of our lives secretly thinking how not-enough we are, how could we be enough for love? or to be loved completely by another human being?

when we’ve spent our time running away and hiding from ourselves, how can we allow another person to finally, fully see us? and then accept and love us for it?

love isn’t turned off by your flaws, though, and neither does it see them as signs of how unworthy you are. love doesn’t want your perfection or your pretty story wrapped up in pretty words. it matters not whether you achieved the target you set for the day or that you have dark circles under your eyes with bad, morning breath. those, in love’s eyes, are not important things.

what matters to love is this: what the state of your heart is, what dreams you tuck under your pillow at night, what saddens you on any given day, what makes you smile like a million rays of sunshine on a rainy day. it wants you real and raw and unedited. messy and a-work-in-progress always. it absolutely adores your imperfections and can probably trace the 89th constellation with them, all ready to be hung up in the night sky.

and when you can find someone you shows you that love speaks a very different language than what you’ve believed all this while, i think you should let them in.

when they care for your heart like they would for their own, you should allow them to do so. and care for theirs, too.

when they open up space for you to be human and the glorious mess that you are, don’t run away like you always have. let them see it. and let them show you the beauty in the chaos.

and when you know they’ve seeped into the very marrow of your heart, you should take a chance at telling them: this space has become yours now. and whether or not you stay, it matters immensely to me.

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