For 24 years I’ve derived my self-worth from other people.
I’ve waited for boys to bring me flowers and tell me I’m beautiful.
I have held out for teachers to tell me I’m competent.
To have friends show me I’m worthy of the love and affection I receive.
But today, I face the real issue:
For years it seems I’ve been buying time.
I have been waiting for a stranger to fall in love with my smile as he passes me on the street.
I have held out for someone to hear my laugh and the effortless joy that reverberates across the room,
And realize he couldn’t live without that sound the rest of his life.
Most of all, I have been waiting for someone to fall in love with my heart.
All of its intricacies and complexities,
The love that pours out as steadily as the Ohio River on a calm Sunday afternoon.
I think my biggest misconception is that I am not already whole.
I don’t need someone to complete me.
I have enough love in this frame for two already.
And I don’t need a partner to go on adventures and experience life.
I backpacked across South America by myself.
I slept under the Chilean stars and hiked Machu Picchu.
I mountain biked down Death Road in La Paz, Bolivia,
And walked along the widest avenue in the world in Buenos Aires.
I held conversations with locals, met lifelong friends,
And had experiences I could have never had were I not alone.
I’m already whole.
It isn’t any less beautiful to do life on your own for a while.
It makes you strong.
I’m sure one day I’ll meet someone – but not someone who completes me.
It will be someone who accentuates my attributes,
And falls in love with everything I hate about myself.
He’ll love the scars on my face, and the extra bit of padding on my thighs.
He’ll love the overpowering vulnerability I feel sometimes,
The way tears can well up suddenly in a crowded library simply because I wish I could hug my dad.
He’ll love my permanent coffee breath and coffee stained teeth,
But he definitely won’t be able to match me cup for cup.
It’s going to take a special person to keep up with me for the rest of my life.
Until then, I will keep dressing up for myself.
And when people ask me why I look nice, I’ll continue responding:
“It’s a Tuesday.”
I will keep doing all things with love, but I’ll stop romanticizing life, like I cannot survive without it.
I’ll keep falling in love with being alive,
And remember that living is so much more than a boy liking me.
I will keep my boisterous laugh that escapes the depths of my soul
And try not to take it personally when others tell me to calm down when I get excited.
I will have to keep reminding myself that not everything can be fixed with a smile.
But I’m for damn sure going to keep trying.
And I will keep loving in one volume: