“I wish I had met you before I became myself.” I said.
“What do you mean?”
And like that I was confessing my greatest insecurities, my greatest fears: “It is just…people always talk about the fact that your past builds you — that it influences the way you are and how you love and how you interact with the world you live in. When I say I wish I had met you before I became myself, I’m saying that I wish I had met you before heartbreak convinced me that I was safer on my own. I wish I had met you before I was walked out on four years ago, before my parents got divorced, before my little sister let someone break her teeth on promises. I wish I had met you before everything burrowed inside of me, before it all grew me into this person who may never feel worthy of loving a man like you.”
He unlaced his fingers from my palms and pulled my face close to his. I could see saltwater dancing around his eyes, illuminated by the ashen shadow of the moon. I had never seen him cry and through the tears he said to me:
You don’t see it do you? The beautiful battlefield you are. You come to me with your failed relationships and your stinging regrets, cupped within your hands, offered to me like an apology.
But, the thing is, you don’t have to apologize for the way the world broke you. You don’t have to ask me to forgive you for having scars, or doubts, or fears. You think you aren’t enough, that your experiences took from you and left you lacking, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Your past may have built you but it never reduced you, it never spoiled your potential — it only ever added to it, it only ever made you stronger, more deserving of a love that loves you back.
Sometimes my chest sinks into my stomach when I realize you truly don’t see yourself the way I see you. See, I don’t see your parents divorce, or your sisters despair. I don’t see anguish stamped along your skin, I don’t notice the tremble in your “I love yous.” When I see you, I see roses. I see forests of potential just budding from your limbs. When I see you I see courage; I see a woman who is loving despite being afraid, I see a woman who is fighting despite feeling weak. When I see you I see a strength that inspires me.
He pressed his lips into mine, the power of his words filling my bones with warmth, and just like that I knew, that this man was a light in my life, and I would only ever want to grow towards him.