This Is How You Know You Didn’t Love Hard Enough

serious looking girl
Enis Yavuz

You’ve never loved, if you haven’t had to let go of someone when the waves keep pulling you back to them. When the waves of regret sometimes crash harder against you, instead of away.

You haven’t loved, if you haven’t come face to face with the demons that made you hate yourself and love yourself at the same time. You haven’t loved until the sweat of frustration in your temples mixes with the tears flowing down your cheeks. Until you are buried knees deep and head down, holding yourself so you don’t fall apart. You haven’t loved until a real heaven feels non-existent, and realize hell is actually on earth made up of dishonesty, lies, and bullet wounds. you haven’t loved if you haven’t lost the hope, and lost the conviction that the world is meant to be a beautiful place, where good things never happen to good people.

You haven’t loved until the sweet taste in your mouth turns to bitter salt, counting down the days until you can breathe again. The moment you can live without them again. You haven’t loved if you don’t live with two guns. One that holds onto the love, and the other that triggers the pain. You haven’t loved if your heart does not feel like it belongs somewhere else, somewhere out of this planet and far away from you and the reach of any one else to open or touch. You haven’t loved if you haven’t swallowed your pride in gulps, and drank lust in tall glasses of regret. You haven’t loved if their hurt, doesn’t hurt you like a lighting strike.

You haven’t loved hard enough if you haven’t looked at someone straight in the eyes and clenched your fists, so they don’t see you cry. You haven’t loved if you haven’t sat in the dark by yourself holding onto your chest, and feeling your heart beat for nothing but love. You haven’t loved hard enough if your tears haven’t felt as heavy and thick as blood itself when they hit the surface. You haven’t loved if your body isn’t weak from crying all week. You haven’t loved hard enough if your chest doesn’t feel like it’s just been through open heart surgery without anesthesia. You haven’t loved enough if the trail of stars at night don’t lead you back to a foggy memory for no reason.

You haven’t loved if you’ve never missed someone while they were standing right in front of you. Until you haven’t looked up at the heavens with painfully stricken eyes and asked God, “what did I do to deserve this? You haven’t loved until you pray to God every single night that they are safe, because you know they stay out till the sun comes up. Until you send love to them from wherever you are, every time you think of something that makes you happy. Until your eyes are swollen from crying it becomes a medical issue.

You haven’t loved if you haven’t had to let go of someone who’s already let go of you. You haven’t loved hard enough if letting go hasn’t been your only option. You haven’t loved, if you haven’t felt that nudge of pain in your heart when you realize you don’t recognize them in a crowd of people anymore. You haven’t loved, if your heart doesn’t feel like it broke into a million pieces, and you’re still trying to find piece number 999,899. If you haven’t witnessed a whole kingdom burning down, as you’re in shackles forced to watch the library of memories ignite.

If you haven’t had to keep erasing their tracks, their words, your dreams, so you can stay on track. So you can get on with your life. You haven’t loved if you haven’t poured all the love you don’t have for yourself onto them. You haven’t loved enough if you haven’t set a photograph on fire, and then saved it halfway through the ashes running down your fingers. You haven’t loved if you haven’t pushed the phone away from yourself as they spoke, so they don’t hear the cracks breaking in the only thing you have left that defines you. Until the light of day peeks through your window at 2 am and it feels like you are breathing again because you are still alive to see another day. No, you haven’t loved. Or maybe you have.

Maybe you have visited this place. The place in the deepest darkest pits of love, where only the soft petals of roses dress your skin in velvet. Where songs become different homes you live in. Where they come to you in dreams you have, and you wake up feeling like you came back from seeing them. Where sunsets and sunrises you watched are like a second pair of eyes you take with you wherever you go. Maybe you’ve loved like that. Maybe you’ve loved hard enough like me, that you have seen all the things you love in this world in someone else.

I am convinced I met love once. But after that, I met her countless times in vast places within myself. To me she is now a beautiful sound I hear only when I want to, all around me. Only when I am vulnerable. Only when I choose to love. I am incapsulated in the word itself, it’s been so long I do not recognize myself. Regret clouds on me on and off. I am trapped, but like fire I rise to the tip of the flames, one layer of color after the next, I go up and up until I reach the infinite. Then just like love, I too am infinite. TC mark

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