I Like Her (but I Love You)

I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that I wasn’t ready for you to write in the margins of my life and pushed you away, or that I was willing to annotate anything I didn’t understand about you and learn what I didn’t know, but you never let me.

I’ll own those times I exhibited and acted on f*ckboy tendencies or behaviors; the man I want to be won’t die from his own pride or suffer from an inability to grow.

I think you still have trouble accepting that you wanted me to be impressed by the very things you never actually want to be evaluated on in the first place. I’m not moved by the fact that you’re at the top of your game. That’s the same expectation I have for myself. Unfortunately, the way you wanted to be loved and the way you were ready to be weren’t aligned. I hurt you by trying to accommodate that, when I knew I shouldn’t have.

It’s not your responsibility to teach me how to love myself. That’s on me, and I’ve been taking that seriously. But I took you at your word when you said you wanted to see me be great, but you broke my heart when you proved that you only wanted to see me be good enough for you to feel comfortable. We love each other, but choosing each other is a different thing entirely.

I remember you said that “Black men don’t talk about their feelings”.  I’m not them. I’m me, and I had to learn how to live with my feelings long before I could fully identify what they were, or how impactful they could be if left unchecked. I carried my pain in the open. You put yours away. We met each other like that. Grace isn’t a meritocracy, which is good for us, because we both need it, and were willing to give it to each other.

I paid the price for fears you had that predated my entrance into your life. You paid the price for insecurities I was to unnerved to tell you about. I wanted to write in the margins of your life, but you weren’t always ready for the annotations, and I might not have been available to do the level of research that would have required.

There was no way it could have been us at that moment; you didn’t like yourself, and I barely knew myself.  I was also too focused on being something for you, that I forgot to be the hero in my own story. I’m writing some new chapters now though, and they are starting to look better.

All the neck kisses and ear nibbles in the world could never make up for me not affirming myself. I thought I wanted companionship. What I needed was more self confidence, and expecting you to provide that was a product of my desires to feel something that should have come from within. That’s the thing about pain; depending on where you are and how you engage with it, it can either envelop you or develop you. Sometimes those aren’t mutually exclusive either.

Vulnerability doesn’t scare me. Abandonment does. I’ve wondered for a long time if I would ever grow into my heart, or if the point of it being this big is to fill it with the right things and the the right people. I still don’t know where you fit in that context. That’s the thing about scars; we too often assume they make us unworthy, until we meet someone who is sees them, and doesn’t turn away, but wants to trace the outline of them softly, to learn what happened.

Loneliness is some shit, but acting like I didn’t (or don’t) miss you would be on some other shit entirely. You’re still as beautiful as the day I saw you, and that’s not changing, even if our relationship has. You’ll always be enough, and I have no bearing on that, nor should I. If I disturbed the peace you were fighting for, I am sorry. I only wanted to be addition, but I know that good intentions don’t make great relationships. The latter requires much than thoughts. If they never translate to deeds, they weren’t worth anything to begin with.My rhetoric can outrun my actions, which leads me to say things I may not be ready to actually execute on. I’m working on that too

Who I was can't kick it with who I'm becoming. You taught me that.

Whoever you do end up with, I hope they understand that the problems of your future should be their privilege, not their burden. I feel everything, but I have never felt anything quite like you.You changed the weather around me, and there’s nothing quite like warm, summer rain. It drenches you, but there’s light in each droplet. That’s why we dance in it.

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