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As I sit here by our tree, the white lights twinkling, casting shadows on my bare legs, I think that maybe what our challenge and joy is, is that I just love you differently.
I love you inconveniently.
Maybe it’s a maddening dance of me not leaving well enough alone—I know that I have a tendency to speak when it seems the water is already so smooth.
But I am not after smooth sailing, especially if it’s at the cost of truth or even our growth, because the worst nightmare to ever keep me awake is that you and I will be here just as we are now completely unchanged.
Growth may be a drug, but I see it as an elixir as deliciously labeled as in Alice in Wonderland, tempting us to cast off the blinders that keep life easy but painful and embark on the uncomfortable—but oh, it is so full of joy.
But I love you differently.
I love you truthfully.
It’s not that I cast words like stones on you, but I won’t put a priority on staying silent any longer: the moment I give up truth is the moment I give up love.
Because to be true partners in life means that we share what is difficult, we share what is challenging. We share what warps the vision we thought we were, and instead we are asked to connect new dots that lead to a far-off place we can’t yet imagine.
It’s ironic, though, that this love, this “I love you differently” kind of gift could ever be seen as anything less.
But I know that different isn’t always easy, and I do take pride in that, because neither am I.
See, the spaces where life has dislodged me from comfort are the very ones where I was able to stretch my wings the most. I was able to see that the small, tethered girl I was lived in fear so deeply that she couldn’t have possibly known love.
So, around midnight fires and under star-streaked moons, I promised myself that to speak love into a man means to always speak truth into him too. It means to say the hard things, to point out the cycles he’s still embedded within, the distractions he’s tossing back like shots of tequila while I watch, unable to do a damn thing but trust.
It means that I will point out what is most uncomfortable, that I won’t let things slide because no one becomes their best by ignoring the very catalysts that come to burn down everything we aren’t and everything we no longer need.
But damn, my love, different sometimes hurts.
Because I don’t want to have to rub our wounds against each other until they slough off and we’re able to be free from the restriction of the skin we no longer fit in. I don’t want my words to make you question my love—yet I know that if that happens, it’s because there’s a part of you that still is holding onto the pain others asked you to carry.
And most of all, it breaks my heart when I ask questions or say what I notice or what we could do better at, and you take it personally down to your very heart, throwing up defenses and questions as if I haven’t loved you lifetimes before, as if I don’t know the names of the demons you dance with.
If there was one thing I wish, it would be for you to see this is the safety net of “different.”
Yes, I may love you differently. I may challenge comfort zones and make you wonder why I can’t just let things be, but this is why it’s all worth it—because I only say what I do, awakened, wild authentic women only say what they do, when it’s a love that we’re never going to leave.
When it’s worth it.
When we love you as we love ourselves, and because of that, we know it means that it’s not supposed to always be easy, that sometimes the true definition of love is saying the hardest thing, stirring the pot, and making sure that we don’t bypass the lesson and expect to get the blessing, anyway.
Because I may love you differently, but I also love you steadily.
And while life may change and turn, we will eventually be able to kiss the wrinkles beside our eyes as we celebrate the years together—this love isn’t going anywhere.
It can’t be chased off, it can’t be run from or avoided.
It can’t be traded or even replaced.
This love is different for a reason, and it’s because out of all the reasons why we should never have grown in love, why we shouldn’t have worked or fit together the ways in which we do—we still did.
We became not what we were supposed to but what we were meant to, and each and every day is a part of that. Every joy, every kiss on distant soil, every tear, and every time you shake your head and consider, for a moment, an easier path. An easier love and an easier woman.
Maybe we became what we are because we simply couldn’t help it. The only way I know how to love you is completely, fully, and wholeheartedly—and no, it’s not that or nothing, because nothing, for us, doesn’t exist. For you are just as much a part of my heart as the blood that rushes when I’m lying across your lap with your hands tracing lines on my spine.
I am yours, but I am also still mine.
I am love and I love you differently.
I can’t promise that it will be easy, but I can promise that we will both continue to grow and become better because of this love. It’s like we always said, it seems that we have locks that only each other’s keys can undo, and how beautiful it is when our carefree, authentic selves are let out to play.
Our demons may know each well, but it’s our light that dances so sweetly.
So, while I won’t apologize for loving you differently, I will ask you to be patient with me.
I will ask you to see that everything I do or say or ask about is actually rooted in the deep love we have, and while I may love you differently, the most important part is that I will never not.
Because that is simply all I can ever do.