by: Clementine von Radics
1. Already it’s hard for me to talk about the way you make me feel. You are a miracle, you are scarily brilliant, and everything about you is beautiful. But I get shy when I try to tell you that. Instead I make sure I always have your favorite food on hand. I let you pick which side of the bed you want to sleep on. I always make you coffee in the morning. To quote Nikki Giovanni: “These are my love words.”
2. I know that I am very hard to get to know. I keep secrets. I cultivate my idiosyncrasies. I flatly refuse to wear my heart on my sleeve. I keep it tucked snuggly against my hip, sheathed and hidden. I do this very purposely: getting to know me is a challenge.
3. Here is the reason I challenge you at first: when I commit to loving you, that’s it. I’m in. If I love you, I will love every last inch of you. I will carry every burden. I will give you everything I have, physically and metaphorically. I will love all of your friends and family without question. I will find every part of you wonderful; I will justify every one of your flaws and find them beautiful. What do you want? Do you want the moon, Mary? Then I will stop at nothing until I have lassoed it, wrestled it down to earth, and given it to you on a string.
4. I will love you so much, and I want to be loved in return. If I think you don’t love me anymore, I will pull my heart away to keep it safe. I can’t help it, I’m sorry. I’ve lost love before and that was painful enough. Never again, I can’t bear it.
5. Once, on a good night, my best friend and I drove to the beach at 3 am, singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs the whole way. We got there as the sun was rising. We slept for two hours in his car, and then walked along the beach in the misty, foggy morning. He gave me a clam shell that he found half-buried in the sand. I keep my earrings in it now. It’s one of my most treasured possessions.
Once, on my worst night, I stared myself in the mirror until I didn’t recognize my own face. Then I took a pair of safety scissors and cut at my hair until it was hacked and uneven and barely there. I shaved what was left with peppermint soap and a bic razor. The soap stung wherever I cut my skin.
Neither of those stories is about how I love exactly, but it’s important you know both of them.
6. You already know this, but I like sex. I like bodies. I like your body. I like the joints of your fingers. I like the way your hair feels. I like the wrinkles and folds in your skin. I like that some parts of your body are hard and some of them are soft. I like your muscles. I like your smell. I like the way you feel pressed against my back, lulling me to sleep. I sleep better beside someone than I ever have alone.
7. I’ve had sex for money. I was shocked by how similar it felt to having sex for love.
8. I will never marry you. I stand firm on this. Marriage is a sexist, heteronormative, archaic institution that is perpetuated by companies trying to sell you cake and dresses. It enforces the idea that romantic love is the only love that matters, and you can only love one person romantically in your lifetime. It’s nonsense! I refuse to participate!
Okay, I’m sorry. I’m off my soap box. No, I will never marry you, but I will also never betray you. I don’t need a ceremony to prove I love you. I will prove it to you every day by treating you with respect, kindness, and care. I don’t believe we need churches or diamonds to make love real; it’s real enough as it is.
9. It is often hard for me to feel happy. It is often hard for me to maintain my sanity. Loving people helps. And you, you get at some core part of me. I know it is important not to put the responsibility of my well-being on someone else’s shoulders. I know that no one can be my anchor. I won’t ask you to complete me, but I am asking you to choose me.
Clementine von Radics is a queer girl living in Portland, Oregon. She attends Portland State University, collects maps, and has a cat named Lydia Bennett. You can find her original work on her own blog, everyjoyitbrings.tumblr.com, as well as the sex positive advice blog sexytalkwithtyra.tumblr.com