I Don’t Know How To Love With Any Less Than All Of Me

Kareya Saleh

I don’t believe in half-love. I don’t believe in partial love. I don’t believe in timid love, in baby steps, in loving a person little by little. I don’t believe in treading carefully, walls still up and keeping someone from seeing the real you. There has never been a gauge in which I measure my love, only giving someone parts of me. There has never been a switch where I can just turn off my feelings, showing affection a tiny bit at a time.

I’ve never been able to love any other way than fully, totally, completely.

I fall into people with my entire heart. I give them the benefit of the doubt, never holding their past against them, or doubting them before we even begin. I love them for who they are—even the bad parts they try to hide. When I first fall, it’s like I don’t see their imperfections; I choose not to focus on them. I see their soul, their laugh, their smile, the way they make me feel.

And I open my heart and fall for all of that. No holding back.

I’ve never been good at pretending, at staying guarded. See, when I love someone, I love them with all of me. I love them with my hands, always wanting to touch, to hold, to give. I love them with my mouth, wanting to speak words of kindness, or kiss their lips tenderly to let them know I’m here. I fall in love with my body, craving closeness. I fall in love with my eyes, wanting to see every scar, every blemish, ever fold and line of skin and learn, memorize, understand.

I fall in love with my soul—nothing less than all of me.

I’ve never been good at casual, at a fling or momentary affection. I’ve never understood kissing someone then never speaking, or spending a night wrapped in someone’s arms, only to part ways in the morning and never hear from them again.

I don’t understand how people tie their hearts around other people then walk away, or how some manage relationships without commitment or purpose or security. I don’t get how people survive connections with ‘no strings attached,’ or half-love, only calling upon one another when it’s convenient.

I haven’t learned the art of hookups, of having a ‘thing,’ of easygoing, non-committal love between two people. But I don’t want to.

Because I don’t know how to let someone in partially, or love with less. I don’t know how to stay guarded and bitter, to not show someone my heart and let them in. I don’t know how to fall into a meaningless relationship, or what the point of that would be. And I can’t pretend I don’t care when I do.

I want real love. I want passion. I want someone who wants me and gives me all of him, expecting nothing less in return. I don’t want casual, something with no boundaries or commitment, something with no purpose or true emotion.

I don’t know how to do that. And I really don’t want to.

I want someone who isn’t afraid to jump in with me. Someone who doesn’t see me fearlessness as crazy, but as brave. Someone who’s just as willing to step forward, to try, to trust. Because that’s what love really is—blind trust, raw emotion, and going all in.

So yes, I will love wildly. I will love with all of me, and never a drop less. I will continue to pursue relationships that matter, people that believe in commitment and purpose and finding something real.

So call me foolish, call me ‘too much,’ call or naïve or stupid. But this is the way I’ve always loved, the only way I know how—fully, completely, fearlessly.

And in the pursuit of something meaningful, I am not afraid to stay the way I am. 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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