July 22, 2016

I Love you When. {Poem}

Suzanna Fernandez/Flickr

This poem was born from a trail of questions that burned its way into the pages of my heart.

One day recently, I stopped walking around with my head up my a** pretending I’m an expert on love, and started asking instead—what is love?

What does it mean to love someone unconditionally, to love their flaws? What is a flaw?  

What does it mean to be with someone, to stick with them through good and beautiful times, utterly terrible and mundane times? What does it mean to love someone’s darkness and tears and not-so-pretty parts?

I don’t know.

But there is great and mystical depth to be found in love; mostly, we skate on the surface.

Let’s go deeper.

It changes everything to remember how much we don’t know. It awakens the mystery within our bones. So, rather than trying to gather up all the shiny “right” answers, we can bite into some ridiculously juicy questions instead. ‘Cause questions can open hidden spaces and unlock secret passageways and rip away sequined layers of falsity.

And maybe, at the end of the day, our questions about love can only be untangled by learning to love ourselves first—always.

And maybe, oh maybe—this is not just a love poem. An oozing, romance-laced expression postmarked for someone we adore. Maybe it is also a story of sublime self-love. A heartfelt note to read to ourselves, as we gaze into our own weary eyes, on those days where we feel a little vulnerable and a lot like sh*t. Maybe it’s a tear-stained page of a reminder that it’s perfectly awesome to be exactly where we are, exactly who we are.

Because sometimes, it can feel a whole lot easier to love or accept someone else’s sh*t—their darkness, difficulty, messy beauty, uncertainty and struggle—rather than our own.

But maybe it is only though daring to love ourselves in the midst of our most tender, crumpled, vulnerable moments that we can find the love we truly seek.

I love you
When you’re not all done up and pinned to perfection.
I love you
When you’re not holding everything so meticulously together, like how the world says you should.
I love you
When you’re fantastically human, shaking, scared sh*tless—yet smiling slightly, too.
I love you
When you’re completely falling apart.

I love what’s real in you.
I love the real that oozes out of your sleeves like gritty tears in the most unexpected moments.
I love the real that seeps out when you get sad and shy and frustrated.
I love your masks and personas; your joy and wild, beaming laughter, too.
Of course, that’s easy.

But there are so many luscious layers to you.
I won’t stop at the shiny, starry-eyed surface.
I will dive all the way in.
I will taste every layer, especially the writhing, juicy sh*t you’re ashamed of, the tender, gossamer parts of your heart you’d like to pretend aren’t there.

I will dive all the way in.

I love the deepest, pulsating, roarin’ wildest, electric parts of you.
I love the darkness, the shame, uncertainty, loneliness, sadness, pain and confusion.
I love how shockingly heartfelt you are.
I love how you feel it all—yes, everything—and sometimes struggle like hell to move your mouth and howl your truth.

I will dive all the way in.

Into your weary, mysterious eyes.
Your tired and gorgeously curious heart.
Your most cherished and hated memories.
I will swim madly in the deepest emerald pools of your being.

Don’t impress me with jeweled tales of what you’ve done or achieved—
Kiss me.
Kiss me with absolutely everything you’ve got.
I’ll kiss you with absolutely everything I’ve got.
Can we, maybe,
Never stop kissing

Because I need you to know this one thing—
A message my kisses will try to passionately deliver.
I need you to know that I love you the most—
In those tender, ripped-open moments when you swear you’re unlovable.
When you’re openly scarred
Obscenely vulnerable
Struggling through tears
On the verge of giving up
Fantastically human
And letting all your luscious loose ends hang out.
Because in those moments, you have no idea how brave you are.
Because in those moments, your naked authenticity is like the ultimate refreshing Spring to a Winter that seemed it would never end.

Because in those moments,
Even though you feel mighty awkward and unsettled in your own skin,

And your authenticity is not perfect—
It’s not glossy or centerfold ready.
But it’s really real.
It’s goddamn sweaty, bloody, and gritty.
It’s beaded and beautiful beyond words.
It’s dangerously heartfelt and stamped with the sweetest tears.
And that’s why it’s so f*cking precious.
It echoes uproariously through misty blue mountaintops all over the world.
It shakes you—and everything around you—to the hottest molten core.
Your authenticity, your rawest ripped-open seams of vulnerability
All the sh*t you thought you had to hide—
That’s your gift.
That’s what can change the world.
My god, it’s utterly breathtaking when you’re so wonderfully you.


Author: Sarah Harvey

Images: Flickr/ Susana Fernandez; Flickr/mbtrama

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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