the verb & the feeling

i always thought the highest level of a relationship
based on regard for one another,
not on labels or status,
is whether or not love is ever-present.

Because after all,
one of God’s ultimate commandments
is to love one another–
He never said it would be easy.

But loving someone is a verb
its demonstrated through actions
through consistency
through words of affirmation
& always showing up.
Love is putting someone else before you,
and embodying the care & utmost respect
you could have for someone else.

Liking someone, however?
that’s a feeling.
it comes from judging a person’s character,
weighing it against your own ideals.
its demonstrated through the ease of having common ground
unsolicited friendship.
You could strive to love your neighbor,
but do you ever have to like her & her love of stray cats,
hoarding tendencies,
& late night, pot-perfumed, porch parties?

it seems to precede love–
but isnt it really its own making?

i think in most of my relationships,
i didn’t take the time to figure out whether i even liked the guy,
before committing to his lifestyle,
his dreams,
his future,
his expectations.
& because i had done all that so fluidly
so readily
i reasoned, i must’ve been in love.
because the actions of the word were all present.

Now i have a man,
who’s taken a year and a half to be mine
but i can say, honestly, i thoroughly love him.
But now that love’s been declared
& commitment’s been pronounced
i’m not so afraid of not loving him
as i am of not liking him.
because love is an action,
& i am a gold-star follow-through-er.

but will i like him while doing so?

the lit-miss test

your importance
in my life
is evident
in how much i miss you
& it’s only been a day.
& we don’t cohabitate,
so it’s not a matter of readjusting
to having the entire bed to myself
or the lack of morning breath kisses
or timely meals shared after a long day of work

no
instead
this is an emotional pull
that aches
& yearns
but is only obvious to me.
its my body instinctively knowing you’re too far for comfort
& that anxious feeling reverberates the 7,803 miles separating us
& keeps me from being at peace.

they say distance makes the heart grow fonder
distance is the litmus test
that tells me
with you,
every cell in my body is protesting
against this thing called distance.

had i.

had i listened to all those relationship advice articles
i wouldnt be in this place i am now.

had i listened
to the impatience
the entitlement
tug tug tugging to be noticed
justified
glorified
in those self-affirming
“10 Signs He’s Not That Into You”
i wouldnt have this relationship.

had i listened
to every friend
who reminded me of my biological clock
& the many many fish out there
i wouldnt have this person.

had i gone against my gut
& listened to all the have-nots
i wouldnt be here to appreciate
all the haves.

sense-imental

do you see?

the admiration beaming from my eyes when i gaze at you?
as if even minutes apart made me thirst for you
& just seeing you in all your handsome charm quenches it.

can you feel?

me trying to pluck the stress from your temples
your neck, your shoulders
as you tell me about your eventful day?
my earnest attempt to transfer all the bad you’re feeling
& take it upon myself.

can you hear?

the sweet sound of honest to goodness happiness?
in my laugh, in the way i coo, “you’re my favorite”
for the hundredth time today.
in the sincerity in my apologies for your long hours,
back to back meetings, & difficult days.

[i’ve never apologized so much before
& rarely ever for things that have
nothing to do with me]

is this what it is to love?

it feels like
such an incredible responsibility
to feel something this insurmountable
for someone else
& having now felt it,
to know that to live any other way
would be a half-life.

tunnels & collar bones

i want to run through every red light to get to you faster
the butterflies caged in my chest break free
when i recognize your silhouette across the dark parking lot
i want to live with my face buried in the space between your collar bones
your smile sets my gut at ease
like the ease you have with kissing the top of my forehead
with a warm, “hey babe”
& i never knew how much i craved
the velvety softness of those two words
until you say it

casually.
like how you casually play off the incredibly thoughtful things you do for me,
like loading the Harry Potter audiobooks to a playlist for me,
or leaving me “thinking of you” videos in the morning.
i want to extend each moment,
each second,
because time apart feels like that game i used to play with my brothers,
holding my breath at the entrance of a tunnel
only allowing myself to exhale once you reach the other side–

only, it’s not a game now.
& i’ve only just caught my breath with you
& don’t want to hold it a second more.
& yet.. i want to let you leave.
i want you to go conquer the world,
and be the person you tell all about it
at the end of the day.

if you didn’t ask me, “how was your circle group meeting?”
i’m quite sure
that all of this
would’ve come tumbling out

in one

breath.

the long game

how long does it take for you to know
that im your person?
how much assessing
evaluating
weighing
& deliberating among friends
before you come to the conclusion
that i’ve arrived at months ago?

it shouldnt matter if you’ll be gone for years
because if this is real, it’ll outlast the distance.
on the other hand;
the years matter if they embody the test.
because if it’s real, when all the pieces fall into place
then you’ll know if my piece is still right beside yours.
with no guarantees
no commitments
just faith.

beauty in beginnings

a seed can’t sprout in infertile ground
regardless of how strong it is.
in order for it to take root
and birth wispy tendrils
the soil had to give.

a whisper of a thought
comes from the smallest seed
but your mind is what allowed it to take hold
to grasp the possibility of that tiny idea
breaking out of its husk
& growing into this lush
thriving
life form.

the drawer

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“its a logistical thing,” he explains.
“it just makes sense for you to have one,” he reasons.
offering a drawer
in a man’s place
is a huge thing.. at least to women. [i think]
so i ask, “but what does this really mean?”
what im really asking is, don’t let my heart & mind wander off to some hopeful cliff to later plummet off of.

“its progress.” he says, as he pulls me in close to kiss my forehead.

“dont be anxious
dont be worried
i can see it in your face
we’ll figure things out”

when he catches me
before i can get caught up
in my own runaway thought train
when he lassos me with his reality
& pulls me in close

is when i realize
he’s willing to balance
on that fine line
between hope
& reality
for me.