February 2, 2016

I am Afraid to Love you.

love couple quirky hold hands

I am afraid, when your lips join mine in a kiss so tender, so sweet, a kiss gentle as lace, soft as a slow, summer evening breeze—that I will shatter completely.

When you tuck a stray strand of messy hair behind my elf-like ears, I am afraid my heart will spill out of my mouth and you’ll see all the messy pieces that make me up—the constellations of sadness in my bones, the fire and fear pulsing through my veins. And hell, I am so afraid those shaky little parts will unravel like a necklace of misshapen beads, reveal everything like gut-wrenching words, like scars—and I will have nowhere left to hide.

I am afraid when you look into my eyes, you’ll see far too deeply inside, into my throbbing cells and secret wounds, into the locked masterpiece of painful beauty that’s inked onto the not-so-pretty places I stuff behind a beaming smile.

I am afraid for you to see me at my worst—tear-stained, anxious, stressed out, sad, messy, or sick with the flu.

I am afraid to love you. I am afraid for you to love me.

I can’t ever bring myself to say that aloud, because I shiver at the thought of being vulnerable. Vulnerability is the terrifying place inside where others have played sick games, trampled on me, and twisted up the once-supple, silvery threads of my dreamy, naive heart.

So I hide.

I cover my fear by being distant from you, light years away. But inside, I tremble, I quiver, I shake.

I fear that when you see all of who I really am—you won’t like it.

You’ll reject it. Or, you’ll be horrified and disgusted, and run far away.

But what I fear the most—what’s even harder, scarier and more unbearable to face—is that you could see all of my broken bits and shiny, messy pieces—and still want to put your hand in mine.

Maybe you would even love me more.

That thought knocks the wind out of me; it leaves me breathless and wispy, unsteady in the knees.

Love is always a risk. A leap. A chance. A great, wobbly unknown.

And for you, yes, only for you—I will take the risk.

I will let you see me, a little at a time, piece by piece, slice by slice.

I will keep dipping my toes into the crystalline pool of your heart. Slowly, very slowly, I’ll drop the curtains of my smile and let you see the swirling storm clouds underneath—the tears, the chaos, the shy, fluttering heartbeats. And sometimes, I’ll cover myself back up again quickly, eagerly, with shaky, uncertain hands, feeling overexposed.

But it’s okay.

You’re patient with me.

And I’m patient with you.

Because the thing that allows me to breathe, to inhale, to exhale, to let my lungs drink in the sweet, fresh evergreen-tinged air is the simple knowing that you’re just as scared as I am.

Maybe more.

And our love, it has holes in it, like a rich Swiss cheese, it’s delicious, but not perfect. It’s full of fear.

But I like that. I like it because it’s real.

And so, our shaky hearts will whisper and mumble, taking this slow, taking it really slow, even though we fell in love in an instant.

We will take it slow because we have to.

Our hearts have seen so much, been hurt too much, they can’t bear to be hurt right now. Our hearts—our gentle, fierce hearts—they long for softness, for peace. I know they do.

And maybe that softness, that peace will be found in the strangest of places—

Because maybe love is less about closeness, about being attached at the hip and liking all of the same things.

Maybe love is a thousand acts of setting each other free.

Maybe love is about helping each other come home to our dreams.

Maybe love is the only thing that can make us brave again.

So, will you, will you take my scared, shaky hand, wrap it up in your sweaty palm—

And set me free?

Set me free by loving me, just as I am. By looking at me, when I turn away. By staying softly with me, when I hide. By encouraging me to keep going, when I bruise my knees and fall down.

I don’t need you to make it all better. I don’t need you to erase the butterflies in my stomach or buff out the painful scratches on my heart.

I want you to help me remember that I can fly.

I want us to soar together, our hearts whooshing past limits, tasting jagged snowy mountaintops and soaking in the magnificent, jeweled sight of the sapphire blue sky, coating the world with specks of our sweet, gritty magic.

I want to fly, side by side, chasing our dreams, exploring everything we encounter, perching on the edge of the crescent moon as stars rain down all around us, a wild celebration of beauty and truth.

I love you.

And I am so afraid to love you. I am afraid to lose you. I am afraid to bare my heart and let you touch the tender little buds that grow behind the bricks of my well-crafted walls.

But maybe love isn’t always about closeness and vulnerability, about holding hands and kissing each other goodnight.

Maybe love is much more dangerous than that—

Maybe love is to




Maybe love is a thousand acts of setting each other free.





Author: Sarah Harvey  

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Flickr

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