I wrote you letters, you know. Tucked in my journal, whispered in prayers, scrawled in daydreams. They were the love letters I would never send, the words I thought were so easily whispered in movies and novels but never found their way out of my lips. I wasn’t brave in those days. I longed to be. I thought of the brave woman I could be, and I dreamt of her. She was courageous, and forward, and had such love for herself that that love flowed out to the ones in front of her. Especially you.
You have long since left the recesses of my heart, and my life, and yet tonight, as I sat down to write, you crossed my mind. Not because I long for you still, but because I think of the woman I so wanted to be in those days. I longed for your love I am sure – but I think, if I look deeper still, I longed to be a woman worthy of love.
I fought for that love, you know.
I thought it was something to be earned, to be grasped, to be handed over once I had won the battle and proved in the war that I was capable of wearing love like the honour it is.
I thought that’s what love looked like. And yet I kept missing the mark – with you, with others, with friends – and I couldn’t figure out how it came so easily for the others. How did they keep getting it right? How did they love strong enough, speak the right words, wear the right clothes, weigh the tiny number on the scale?
And it’s taken me years but it hit me one late night: it was never my job to make someone love me. It was never the point. Love wasn’t about being earned, or being enough. We need love because we aren’t enough. Love fills the gaps. Love picks up the list of imperfections and sees them as beautiful.
I thought I could make you love me – and what I have learned in these short twenty five years is that was never my job. I fought like it was, though. I still stand in front of the mirror and see curves where I think there shouldn’t be, and I catch myself in conversations stopping mid-sentence because maybe I’m talking too much and maybe love won’t find itself across the table from me if those words slip out.
But you know what else? More often than nought, I see that woman I longed to be. Brave. Beauty in all my imperfections. Loved, and filled with grace, and shining brightly because love is the greatest gift I could ever receive or ever give.
I thought that woman would be found in you. I really did. But what I’ve learned is that woman was here all along, and she didn’t need any man or person to show her that. I am brave. I am courageous. I am loved.
She was there all along.
I just needed to let go and find her.