I Don’t Know How To Half-Love You (And I Don’t Want To)

@edric

Everyone says to take it slow, to be careful, to guard my heart when it comes to you. I try to listen, I really do. I know they say this out of love and care. I know they say this because they’ve seen me broken before. I know they say this because they know me, know my foolish heart.

They show me the warning signs; we read through your texts like we’re solving algorithms. They make me analyze your every line, question even the silliest things, like a winking smiley face, or an ellipsis that feels out of place. They tell me to watch my steps. They make me hesitate before every response. They make me doubt who I am and how I love.

And I listen to them, nod my head because I know they have the right intentions. I know they’re just trying to save me from pain, keep me from making the same damn mistakes—giving too much too soon.

But I do what I always do, I ignore them and jump in.

I tell you about my life and I laugh at all your jokes. I ask you about your past and listen with my eyes focused on yours. I make room for you in my schedule, say yes to dinner dates and walks and lazy afternoons on the beach, sand between our toes. I drink wine with you, let you tell me stories, and believe every one. I share secrets. I let you kiss me. I kiss you back.

I don’t worry whether or not my text is too flirty, whether you’re really into me, or just playing games. I stop questioning my responses. I stop worrying over what I should say next and just say what I’m feeling in the moment. I smile at you, my big smile, my I’m-really-into-you smile, and I know you feel that energy.

I let myself fall, fall hard, fall deeply.
Because I don’t know how to half-love you.
And I don’t want to.

I don’t believe in rules or caution signs. I don’t think it makes me strong to keep my feelings at bay, to hold you at arm’s length and not let you in. I don’t want in a timid love, a half-love—with you, I’m all in.

Because that’s the only way I know.

My friends tell me I’m too much. They tell me I should stop opening my heart to people and start fooling around, keeping things ‘casual’ with no strings attached. But I don’t understand how you can have attachments with no real connection, feelings without commitment, intimacy without emotion. None of that makes sense to me.

My mother tells me to be careful, to take my time, to go slow, to not fall into people and things more serious than I intend. But what she doesn’t understand is that to me, love is wild. It’s abandoning all doubt and fear, forgetting all caution and hesitation, and trusting that when I fall, you’re falling too.

And maybe you are.
Or maybe you aren’t.

But I can’t play guessing games, can’t wait until you open to open my own heart, can’t sit on the sidelines and only be somewhat into you, I can’t be casual, can’t be uncertain. I can’t half-love you. Because honestly, what the hell is the point in that?

So maybe I’m foolish. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’ll give my everything to you and get nothing in return. Maybe you’ll leave. Maybe I’ll get hurt. Maybe I’ll look back and see that what everyone said was right.

But I still won’t change who I am.

Because loving you is something I won’t regret, no matter our outcome. I loved and I felt and I tried and there’s no shame in that. I gave what I had, maybe gave too much. But I don’t know how to half-love, how to fake it, how to share anything less than my whole heart.

And if I love and lose?
Then I’ll simply call you my lesson learned. TC mark

Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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