I actually can’t make you any promises. Promises, I’ve learned, are not things of substance. They are not these shiny guarantees we’ve convinced ourselves they are. They are flowery words, glittery ideas, hopes stenciled on notebooks and blank pages that we cling to when things start to feel bleak. They sound pretty, something to put atop a melodic tune, call it a lullaby.
Call it whatever you want. But promises are not concrete. Promises are just words.
And I know what you’re thinking, “You’re a writer! All you do is regurgitate words.”
And you’d be right.
I am constantly dissecting my own inane thoughts and stories, putting memories permanently to paper. But my words are not actions. My words are not being in the thick of it. Being in the trenches with you, gaining the strength to somehow shovel our way back home. My words are just that — words.
And I know that.
So I will not promise you much. I won’t shout forevers from rooftops. I won’t claim to love you through everything and never second guess where we’re going. And I won’t ask perfection from you. I don’t want your promises either. I just want your “I tried” and “I’m doing my best.” We can figure out the rest.
But if you want my promises, love, I will try.
I promise to love you with my elbows. I will nudge you when you need a gentle poke. I will be there, making a joke about poking and penises and Facebook. Why did Facebook ever possibly think “poking” was a good idea? I don’t know. But I’ll be there, urging you. I’ll be there, giving you a soft jab with my elbows. And you’ll give me that face. The “Babe, that actually kind of hurt” face and I’ll kiss your cheeks. And you’ll make another joke. And I will love you with both of my elbows.
I promise to love you with my feet. I am so used to running away. I am flight, not fight. I am pull the blankets over my head so I can’t hear the confrontation. I am anything that means I don’t have to face how terrifying reality can be. But I will love you with my feet. I will plant them. And even when I’m ready to grab my tennis shoes, I will talk to you instead. My feet won’t be nearly as tired with you. Because I finally won’t be running. Unless you’re running with me.
I promise to love you with my humor. I am going to talk so much and you’re going to want me to shut up sometimes. That’s just how it is. You can tune me out every now and then, I will not blame you. But I will raise my voice and I will make jokes to avoid uncomfortable truths. Just know, this means I love you even more. I can be all of me with you. The weirdness. The goofiness. The vulnerability. It’s all there. And I give it to you without hesitation.
I promise to love you with my failures. Take my cracked pieces. Here are all my moments I came so close to getting something and it fell apart. Take them all. Hold them in your heart because I trust you. I want you to see me at my worst. I want to know you will still love me at my darkest. Because I love you without the lights on. I love you when I am blinded and believe with all my being you are simply a mess. But a mess that is perfectly messy with me.
I promise to love you with an open mind. We are both changing and what we are now isn’t what we will be in years, or even months. I want to see where you go and how you challenge yourself. I hope you wish the same for me. I never want to be stagnant with you. I will love you with the knowing that us growing is a good thing. Us growing means we are actually doing something.
I promise to love you with hip hop and RnB. I will make you playlists and go to shows. We will listen to what you like too, of course. But I just hope you know you always make me feel like my favorite album. I listen to us on repeat.
I promise to love you with my past. I won’t ever hide my skeletons. I will invite them to join us to dinner so you see I have nothing to hide. We won’t drown in past relationships, but we won’t be afraid to discuss them either. You can read an entire portfolio of mine and I will tell you, with total truth, I am here with you. I am in it with you. I have loved before and they will always be my memories, but you are my right now. And right now has never looked better.
So darling, I guess that’s what I promise you.