To The Next Person Who Falls In Love With Me

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To the next person who falls in love with me:

Don’t.

Do not fall in love with a girl who has no idea how to be loved.

I’ve been loved unconditionally by two different men. The first, my father, though not by choice, left me. His absence cast shadows over my heart that blocked even the brightest light from shining through. I clung to memories of spontaneous adventures by the bay, sandwiches with the crust cut-off, and reading comic books together. He tried so desperately to stay, to continue to love me with every fiber of his being. He fought so hard to be there, to watch me grow. He fought until his body disintegrated. His heart was so full of me, that it stopped beating. And with that, I lost the first man I ever loved and who loved me back completely.

The second man to love me, loved me in a new way, in a way I had never experienced before. He kissed my mouth. My bruised heart. My insecurities. My anxieties. He kissed every part of me. And I kissed him back. I kissed him back until my love began to fade. I heard my own heartbeat slowing, and I tried to fight. I tried to fight like my father had. I didn’t want to leave this love. So I stayed. I stayed even when my heart stopped beating for him altogether. I stayed until finally, leaving became the kinder thing to do.

Recently, my friend wanted to set me up with someone. She told me he was adorable, funny, Jewish, charming in a somewhat-nerdy-way, and in Law School. He was completely and totally “my type.” Her blue eyes were gleaming, alive with optimism. She couldn’t wait for this love match, but I was overcome with panic. He sounded wonderful. I did not want to meet someone wonderful.

For the longest time, I fancied myself as a romantic. I write fucking poetry. The last relationship I was in resulted in 8 poems. Poems about his eyes, his hands, the devastation I felt when he walked out my door; every goddamn thing about him. And weren’t even together for more than a few months. I ooze thoughtfulness, and even with little things, want to make sure someone I care about knows just how important they are. I made a previous boyfriend a book bound with a collection of his short stories and essays. I’ve constructed elaborate treasure hunts, with hints special to only the two of us. I’ve planned surprised visits. I’ve done really cutesy, cheesy, grossly romantic things.

But I do not truly understand romance because I have no clue how to let someone love me.

Sometimes, I think about ripping open these scars. I wonder how long I could let myself bleed before they would reform, hardening even more. I think about the men I’ve had the chance to love, but let go. I think about the men I wanted so badly to love me, but they chose to go. I wonder, would I be so fucked up if I still had my dad to call?

How can I allow myself to fully love a man and let him love me back when the only man I’ve ever needed is sitting in a box?

Do not fall in love with me, because that love will burn hot and fast. That love will send us rocketing into orbit; we will be shooting stars. We will circle the universe at a speed only angels can witness. We will jump so high, and we will fall so hard. We will fall. We will crash.

Please, to the man who is worthy of all my love and I am worthy of his, whoever you are:

Do not fall in love with me.

Not now. Not yet. TC Mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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