Because if I had, I would have realized that love didn’t mean my head crashing against a wall like a bullet exploding from a gun. I wouldn’t have thought the glee in his eye as he apologized meant that people make mistakes, because what he did wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t accidental or sleight of hand. It was filled with angst and hatred and putrid desires I allowed, time and time and time again and I wonder how things would have been different if I’d known about love before I knew you.
Had I known love, I wouldn’t have slept around with boys who were simply posing as men. I wouldn’t have penned my emotions based on text messages. I would have lived my life – met friends, danced with boys, not sit at home and wait for a blinking message to ask me, “What are you doing tonight?” like I was nothing more than a side piece with no legitimate or authentic pauses to consider that my feelings may have been wrapped up in my actions, that possibly I craved more. But those desires only made them play with me for that much longer.
Had I known love I wouldn’t have known desperation, or self-pity, or self-doubt that there was something evidently wrong with the way I was. Until I met you.
You didn’t teach me what love was – you taught me how to self-love. You taught me that the brightest beginnings blossom from the darkest endings. You taught me that, sure, the timing can sometimes be off, but fate steps in when it needs to pick up the shattered pieces from the assholes who did us wrong, from the people who we tricked ourselves into cherishing.
You taught me that my worth is more than the amount of value I placed on it. When I became frazzled about life, you didn’t mock or scurry or diminish those millennial thoughts as a waste of time. You validated me in every single way a human could ever validate another living, breathing, mostly insecure body who just craved the simple acts of kindness that you exuded on a daily basis.
You brought a broken woman back from the brink of believing she was nothing more than what the men she chose swore to tell her: sidepiece, a nag, pitiful, unattractive – or as my ex-husband put it, the worst thing that could ever happen.
You’ve given me the sweetest gift of life and because of it, I stand as a brand new person who doesn’t doubt for one single millisecond that you love me, that you wouldn’t stand up for me, or protect me, or even listen to my sappy stories on repeat like a shitty Hallmark movie on a Saturday morning.
You bring out the best in me when I allowed so many hearts to bring out the worst for so many years. For so many years I failed to realize what I deserved, what kind of romance my heart, my body, my soul craved on a spiritual and uniquely humanistic level. I hadn’t known love before I met you and I shudder to even pretend to think about what my life would be, if I still had no idea.