I remember the night I realized I truly loved you.
Not the puppy love or the honeymoon-stage lust.
No. I remember the exact moment when my heart was so full that when I looked at you silently asleep, your larger body still curved protectively around my smaller one, the thought popped unexpectedly into my brain: “I love you.”
I knew in that moment that even though we both had issues, and even though I probably shouldn’t have let myself fall (not that I could stop or it even knew it was happening, really), I did. I loved you. I still do. I think I always will.
And if I’d known then that in another month, you’d become cold and callous, that you’d want more than just me, that you’d break my heart? I still would’ve stayed. I still would’ve smiled in the dark. I still would’ve chosen to stay, even as the next few weeks changed everything in you. Even as you talked to me less, became distant, and eventually became someone I didn’t recognize.
Even if I’d had a taste of the pain I felt soon after I finally ended it, after you started to further walk away, after you suddenly became a silent presence orbiting my life — even then, I’d feel the same.
Because I don’t regret loving you more than I should’ve.
You showed me I could love again.
You showed me a new kind of love, real love, the kind where you love the person completely, first as a friend, then as more, then no matter what.
You taught me that it’s possible to be yourself, authentic and whole, without judgment and have someone appreciate all of you.
You taught me to see the world in a whole new way, to slow down, to pause, to breathe.
You reminded me that I am amazing, am strong, am beautiful.
You reminded me that my dreams aren’t crazy and that some people just don’t understand.
You showed me what it means to have someone care for me, truly, as I’ve never had before.
You showed me what passion can truly be, how my body could come alive at the mere touch of fingertips or lips and how sex could be so much more than just bodies entwining — how it could be souls merging without words.
You were the first person to see me completely, in a way nobody ever had before. And in this, you helped me rediscover how amazing of a person I am, how unique, how different.
You showed me that sometimes we aren’t ready for love, even when we want it, and that’s okay.
You taught me that everyone can teach us something, both in loving us and in hurting us.
You helped me chase my dreams, achieve some of my goals, feel empowered, and to be bolder and stronger.
You showed me it’s okay to push hard and it’s okay to slow down.
You made me see that I’m not alone in not wanting a checklist life, that I am not the only one who constantly calls prey to wanderlust, who does not want a home or children. In you, I found my soul’s counterpart – my fellow wild adventurer.
And in the end, when you hurt me more than I could ever imagine, though I know you didn’t plan to, you helped push me to face the pain of my past I’d avoided for too long.
So no, even now, I do not regret loving you more than I should’ve.
The pain I feel now is worth it.
The way every part of my body aches when I wake up in the morning lately, because it remembers you haven’t touched it and it still craves that, is worth it.
The memories of us that right now are so painful in their happiness and beauty are still worth it.
You were worth it, despite all of the pain I feel now and all the pain I’ll endure for a long while.
Loving you was and is worth it.
Because what you gave me is so much more.