In the midst of a gray week, I have found my mind revisiting acts of love. I have began probing and asking questions to people I am close to because a lot of them have been in lasting, loving relationships for awhile now. Often when I am sad I find it important to tally the things I am grateful for. Often I think happiness is greatly reflected in how grateful you are for what you have. Life has only taught me that we never know what is going to happen to us. The past is layers of memories kept by individuals who all hold their own perceptions of how things have happened. The lessons we choose to take away from them bolster us further into a future we are completely unsure of. My friend told me that NASA is trying to figure out how to cool the magma under the super volcano out west that has the power to destroy our entire nation. I simply sat and felt very deeply in myself that we deserve it. Things like ‘I didn’t ask to be born’ have been raised and I ridicule myself for having what are really just suicidal thoughts, simmering somewhere in the background. I understand that moods are just moods. They come to pass and most moods don’t deserve a response. In the midst of being with friends or at work I am seemingly happy. I feel happy. I come home to my apartment, I turn on the lamp that I bought. I say hello to my cat that I found (or found me). I clean my dishes from the meals I make for myself, and just myself most of the time. Lately I think about the word intimacy and what intimacy really means to each individual. Even the word feels funny on my tongue and on my lips. I ask my friends, what is this relationship like for you? How did you know? The answer first is a laugh, and then saying, none of us know anything, but we look at this person and say ‘yeah, why not’ and they keep loving each other. Month after month. Year after year.

The funniest conversation I had was about how they know what the other person sounds like when they pee. I laughed so hard and I say, see this is intimacy! This is something so many of us don’t have. It’s the little things that add up that create this little intimate universe where you really love somebody. From their side I know they think I’m just kooky and can’t relate to what I’m saying. I just look at them and think that they might not have any idea how lucky they are.

I look at the people I love. I’ve been trying to let go lately. Let other’s take the wheel. I want Becca to handle aesthetics tonight, or I’m in the mood for Isis. Let them pick the music, let them guide me through a conversation, let them tell me what’s hanging on their mind. Is this intimacy?

I want to account for things I find intimate, I want to account for the greatest acts of love I have experienced lately or maybe in the past couple years.

I had a boyfriend who for the first time sat on the same side of the booth as me. I remember trying not to giggle or make fun of him, simply because I hadn’t experienced it before. This same boyfriend had a thing for sharing plates with me. If we had dinner or breakfast, he wanted it to be eaten off of one plate. He might never know one of the little ice caps he melted in my heart when we shared those moments. Cold. Before work. Making just enough time for each other.

I had a lover that said he thought having sex while a girl was on her period was intimate, hot, special. That ideal of love and sharing still burns in my mind.

One great act of love was when I have gotten so down in the dumps that I couldn’t bring myself to do my own laundry. To the point of having no clean underwear or socks. Just a pile of pilled sweaters and over worn jeans. Kelsey came over and she sat with me as I sorted the laundry, carried it into the dank basement of my apartment, counted my coins, and started again with another load. Until the process was finished. That was love.

Another act of love was with my friend Isis. I take pictures of my friends quite often. I always have. I’ve taken time to figure out how and when they look best. It’s a gift. It’s for me. It’s for them. It’s for the profile picture. It’s for a memory. On one of our many trips to Lake Michigan Isis took a hold of my camera and took pictures of me repeatedly. She tried every angle. She tried until she caught me looking beautiful. The time she took to do that for me has left a print on my heart, what a kind, and mostly patient thing to do.

One memory that I still have a hard time dealing with was a couple summers ago now. I had been day drinking on a manic, summer day. Caught in the spin of a rejection from a man I worked with and didn’t really like at all…but rejection is a bitch. I went into the bathroom and washed my makeup off. I walked into the living room where kelsey sat and I just cried. I cried and cried and said this is what I really look like. Who is going to love my face? I so long to be the face someone wants to come home to, finds comfort in, finds hope in. Kelsey sat with me and held my hands and hugged me until I felt better. Since then I’ve worked very hard to get past this delusion I have of myself being ugly. I’ve made great strides and if she wasn’t there to sit through my outburst, who would have held my hands? I went camping with friends and in the middle of a late night I decided to take off all my makeup. They all told me I looked great. They told me they were glad I took off my makeup. They’ll never know how much they are helping me move forward, just by telling me I look great.

One act of intimacy I found new and unnerving as with a man I dated in the winter time. He would stay with me at night and he would be cool enough to just hang out in my apartment while I did my morning thing. He would watch me put on my makeup. Watch me try on clothes and tell me what looked good. He helped me pack my bags for a trip and was patient through the entire process, even though he didn’t even get to go on the trip with me.

One hard act of love was watching one of my good friends break up with another good friend because he is sick, sick from the bottle. He knew he couldn’t ever get better unless he left her. He knew she deserved better than what he could give her. That is love.

Love is listening to the same kind of agonizing over and over again. Friends can start to sound like broken records about their pain and I thank God I have friends that are patient enough with me to listen to me over and over again.

Love is being patient enough to watch someone you love make poor choices, again and again. Sometimes even turning your back on them. Lately love has been me not feeding into or giving validation to actions that I know are ultimately hurting my friends.

Love is very ugly. The ugliest, beautiful stuff you’ll ever find and it’s better than beer and marijuana or cocaine.

I want to keep compiling this list. I know I have more memories to account for. It helps me remember I am living with a purpose and I’ve been blessed with some very beautiful memories. If anyone even reads this and feels like messaging me about an intimate experience you have had, or an act of love you found profound, I would love it if you shared with me. It will help me keep expanding my horizon 🙌🏻

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