One day, I playfully teased you and said “You’re falling in love with me, aren’t you?”
You answered with “I don’t do falling in love” ever so nonchalantly. I was dumbfounded, staring at you. I tried to make sense of what you had just told me, after you had already said that you loved me. I was searching the room for possible explanations, possible constructions to comprehend what you meant, but my efforts came to naught. I looked at you and you seemed as lost as I was, wondering if you said something wrong. And honestly, I wasn’t sure either. I felt a tear roll down my face and there was only one thing I was sure about in that moment. I was hurt.
How could you love me and still say you don’t ‘do’ falling in love?
You held me tight and reassured me that you loved me, but I was still lost. We laid there silent, both careful not to say anything else that would likely complicate the moment even further.
And then I understood.
You don’t ‘fall’ in love, you decide who you want to love. You don’t love aimlessly. You don’t ‘fall in love’ like you were hit by cupid’s arrow and had no other choice but to heed. You don’t fall in love because of and for various reasons. You don’t fall in love because you have outgrown the ‘romantic’ in you.
And honestly, this is the kind of love I prefer.
I remember having told you something along the lines of ” I don’t want to say ‘I love you’ out of emotion or hype. When I do, I want to be confident about it. I want to be sure about it. Because you deserve that, you deserve to be decided on.” And I realized that that was what you were offering me, too.
You love me because you do, because you have decided to. And I know that you love me because I know how much you value your time, and you have shared such a large bulk of it with me. I know that you love me because you are with me without despite of’s and even if’s. I know you love me because you still look at me like I’m magic, even during the mundane moments of our togetherness. I know you love me because you stayed, even when I walked my monsters and kept my insecurities on a leash. I know you love me because you have decided to, and you continue to decide to, every day.
And because of this love, I have learned to love myself too. I have learned to love myself without despite of’s and even if’s because I deserve that. I deserve to love myself, unconditionally. I have learned to love myself both on good days and bad ones. I have learned to love myself because I love you but ultimately because I love me.
And for that, know that I love you, every day. Because I want to and because I have decided to.