last week my friend d wrote a love poem and read it in writing workshop and nobody said much which made her wonder “do people even like love poems?” because i was ireland last week, she emailed me asking that question and included the poem. i assured her that people who like poetry love love poems and a few days later i gave her detailed feedback of why her love poem is exceptionally good and also why other people might have difficulty commenting on her love poem because they are rendered speechless and maybe they’re a little embarrassed to be thusly moved by her love because they are thinking of their own love or the love that they desire or grieving the love that they’ve lost.
this blog post is not a love poem (obviously), because i’ve never written a half-decent love poem. but if i were able to write a love poem halfway as well as my friend d, i’d post it here and now in honor of my friend d and dedicate the poem to every lover who has ever wailed on the floor in the middle of the night, because if i could write a half-decent love poem, i would have written it during a break-up.
this blog post is a love letter, because i can write a decent love letter, and i’m telling you in advance that this is a love letter because it might wander and obfuscate and jangle from this beginning.
i fall in love with my friends. i fall completely platonically in love with my closest friends. sometimes i also fall slightly-something-other-than completely platonically in love with my friends, which eventually either becomes a super-charged complete platonic love or pitifully fails to resemble love at all. for the friends with whom i’ve fallen slightly-something-other-than completely platonically in love, i can pinpoint the precise moment i fell out of love with each of them. in every case, those friendships would linger, drag, and spoil for years past their ideal expiration date. on rare occasion, one of those friendships would resurrect years later in super-charged complete platonic love.
two and a half years ago i fell out of love with my then-boy-best-friend, which was 15 months into our friendship. due to my childhood abandonment issues, i developed a sick pattern of behavior that prohibits me from leaving relationships that aren’t good for me. i’m slowly recovering from this sickness, but i was still very sick two and a half years ago. in order to compensate for my sick behavior pattern, i subconsciously push people away as a coping mechanism. credit to his endurance, the now-ex-boy-best-friend tried to stay. he stayed longer than was healthy for either of us and longer than i wanted to be friends with him by at least two years. he won’t remember the incident that resulted in my falling out of love with him. he didn’t think the event was important, because it wasn’t important to him, which was my problem, since that event was critically important to me. i had repeatedly asked him to please show up for me for an hour or two to meet someone else important to me. i hadn’t ever asked him to do something specifically like this before. i have ugly wounds around asking for my needs and desires to be met, but i risked my vulnerability because this moment was a significant opportunity that was likely to happen only once. he failed to notice or acknowledge its importance. he failed to show up. my heart crumpled at the edges and bruised on the inside. i tried discussing my feelings with him. he unapologetically dismissed my disappointment. i never tried talking with him about the incident again. i stopped discussing most things that would make me vulnerable with him. my trust and faith in him had cracked. i fell out of love with him that day in march 2011, but i doubled-down and hoped for the best because i had already sacrificed my integrity to be friends with him (which was stupidly self-destructive from the get-go). doubling-down was a sad strategy doomed to fail. the friendship failed from lack of communication, commitment, and caring.
(please stay with me. remember, this is a love letter.)
this summer while the now-ex-boy-best-friend and i were imploding our friendship, i was given the best gift i’ve received in the past five years. d surprises me each week with demonstrations of her creativity and giant-hearted love actions. with d, i am my best and fullest self. d and i have rules of engagement in our friendship that keep us safe. one of these rules is that we don’t censor or delete. not ever. not anything. we are our uncensored undeletable perfectly imperfect sometimes wordy totally honest selves with one another. i love d. i am completely platonically in love with d, the kind of love that i knew i was lucky to have twice already in this lifetime (thank you, g. thank you, c.), and now she’s given me the third experience, much later in life, when most people have walls too high and armor too thick for a friendship like ours to form. the truth is, i thought i had walls too high and armor too thick for another friendship that is actually unconditional. i had tried and failed to have an unconditional friendship with the ex-boy-best-friend, but he and i couldn’t thrive after our first major disappointment, and with each successive disappointment, our distrust of one another grew. i can’t imagine d ever disappointing me, but i know that if she did, i could express my hurt feelings and she would listen and she would apologize for hurting me and explain why she made the choices she had made and i would easily forgive her and we would grow closer as a result. (which is how communication works with g and c. thank you, c, for teaching me how.)
d is a better friend than i previously believed i could have at this point in my life. because d gives to me with natural grace and generosity, i feel safe receiving from her. i ask d for what i want. she gives me who she is. she asks me to be patient when i want to give her more than she is ready to receive. patience is effortless with d. being me–the whole me, the broken me, the fucked-up me, the enlightened me–is effortless with d, which is the very best gift of all. thank you, d. i am totally platonically in love with you and your origami dinosaurs.
for all of you reading this love letter, i wish for you the kind of love that comes unexpectedly, better than you believed was possible, and fills your heart with your own wholeness.
p.s. i love you.