Writing this gave me anxiety at the thought of anyone reading it, so I’m posting it in its entirety so I can figure out what part I’m actually anxious about.
“I was repeatedly lied to about love from the time I first read a fairy tale. The idea that there’s a Prince(ss) Charming that will ride up to you one day and sweep you off your feet or blow your mind in a stunning moment of Awesome and Forever. The idea that you’re just going to “know” from the minute you lock eyes the first time that this is going to be the person you co-parent with or buy a condo with, or hike the Great Wall of China with. The idea that Forever is a thing to aspire to. The idea that intimacy means love everlasting. The idea that sex automatically implies intimacy and that intimacy must only be love. These are lies.
You can love someone for a lifetime but not want them in your life for a second longer than they were in it. You can love someone for a lifetime and not want to have babies or buy real estate with them. You can love someone in a moment and then hate them so much you need them to just leave right this second. You can love someone and not remember what they looked like at all 20 years later. You can love someone then not love them all in the same day. You can love someone for one day and never stop loving them even if they die or go away forever. You can love your friends with the same ferociousness that you love your lovers, just with less fluid exchange.
I remember kisses that seemed to last four days and intense orgasms that overwhelmed me and made me cry. I remember holding hands in movie theatres, resting my head on a broad shoulder, falling asleep fully clothed in someone’s arms, and hours spent online typing words into a chat window that moved me to want to be a better person. These moments, these people, made me want to do more and be more so I could feel like I deserved their love. I wanted to tell them all that I love them without that sounding crazy. But I wasn’t allowed because you’re only allowed to have one love. At best, you’re only allowed to have one love at a time.
I think of my lifetime of loves far too often. I remember birthdays and old songs. Favourite foods, video games, catchphrases, and pathological hatreds of benign objects. I remember the movie you made me watch so I would “understand” you. I remember the way you cracked your knuckles every time I looked you in the eye. I remember throwing the crystal ashtray at you from across the room because I had never been more betrayed in my life. I remember making eye contact with you and melting into your arms for a kiss before a word was spoken. I remember updating you on the current developments in Oka and the Persian Gulf so your friends wouldn’t know what we were actually doing behind closed doors. I remember you giving me (probably stolen) cigarettes when you drove me home from school as a way of showing your appreciation for the blowjobs without having to tell me I was your girlfriend. I remember you demanding that our time together was a secret because no one was ready to know, and sealing our pact of silence with a kiss.
I remember that I loved you all. Even when I don’t want to.”