I can finally tell you how to love me because I have spent dark nights alone becoming my own best friend.
Sacred hours talking to myself—listening and trusting my natural body rhythms.
The tight chest, “heart racing into throat” anxiety means
“Do I need to create a boundary to keep myself safe?”
When my belly flutters, I will “awkwardly gawk” at being transparent, but always find ecstasy in your soulful eyes.
The “clenched jaw, rigid-boned” moments whisper,
Everything is going to be okay. Remember to be grateful for waking up again, and appreciate the people who love you.
The hunched over, body-shaking belly laughter lets me know I am right where I need to be.
Stay close and bless the tears, originating from an ocean within, a universal undercurrent of deep connection, flooding tender cheeks.
I am no expert, but each time we choose to become physically and profoundly naked with one another, we learn invaluable mysteries about ourselves.
The outcome is irrelevant.
It takes bravery to be honest, show our underbelly, handing over shaky keys of trust, with the possibility of unrequited love, rejection, or abandonment.
When we meet another person who pulls us into their orbit, we can choose to stay guarded, protected, and safe. Or, we can dive off an unknown cliff, praying to grow wings. Or fall to the ground—tattooing our fragile faces with dirt.
Either way, we learn our human hearts have an ancient resilience to rise from the ashes we thought would bury us forever.
Love does not live in boarded up clichés, perfect straight lines, or romantic comedy happy endings.
Relationships are a magnificent work of art created by two people. Lifetimes of past experience, weaving new memories with a unique face between our present hands.
I have been rooted in “relationship camp” for the past 15 years.
In the last eight months, I have been single, celibate, deeply content, and aggressively pursuing my own healing.
I am not quite ready to jump back into the ring of partnership, but when I am, I will be considerate enough to hand over an “instructors manual” on how to love me.
Step One: Do not be afraid of me, I am insecure just like you.
I consider myself a confident woman. I spend most days public speaking, teaching, punching, kicking, and baring my soul through writing. “F*ck” is my favorite word and I will talk your ear off about reclaiming the “fierce feminine paradigm.” My laugh is loud (borderline annoying), and even though I’m short, I take up space.
After my last breakup, I had dinner with one of my martial arts coaches. He said, “It will be hard for you to find someone because you are so intimidating.”
I am the most “human” person I know. I cry when I’m hurt, hear a sad song, or feel sorry for myself.
Insecurity creeps in when I look in the mirror and see new wrinkles, don’t know what I’m “doing” with my life, or get naked in front of you.
I don’t always make the “wisest” choices, but take accountability for my actions, forgive myself, and begin again.
I’ve learned to ride waves of self-doubt, yours and mine.
Let’s be human together and ditch the “god” projections, because they are so goddamn boring.
I wear black boots year round. But I promise I will tragically fall from grace if you think I’m a superhero.
Step Two: We will talk about our feelings. Period.
If you are unable or unwilling to talk about your feelings, we will not work out.
When we have confrontations, I would prefer basic conflict resolution: “When you (blank), I feel (blank), because (blank).
Of course, I am open to developing our own creative system of communication. But it is imperative we have one in place.
I am done blaming others for “doing” something to me, and demand similar consideration.
We are not victims—we are partners with equal responsibility. I welcome direct feedback, even though it may sting like a hive of killer bees.
I may get angry, but I will always apologize when I’ve done something wrong, even if it takes a day (or three).
I want to learn from you, grow old with you, and listen to you—but I cannot understand your depths if you do not share from your heart, without accusation or self-righteousness.
Step Three: Loving me could feel like a rollercoaster ride, so I hope you like adventures.
I am an intense woman, my highs are high and my lows are low. I understand this may not be ideal for you. You might be a “serene lake” kind of guy…but you fell in love with a hurricane.
We need you.
Dull moments will be rare, and when the seasons change, a new woman appears.
I am constantly striving for balance, but understand balance is a verb—a push-pull tension—not a mountain top destination.
The good news is: I’m a natural climber.
I will take responsibility for my own healing, and promise to always get back up after I face-plant.
Sometimes I may ask you to patch up my bloody knees and you are always welcome to say no, even if I throw a tantrum.
I love you for carrying me to bed, fixing my laptop, and making me bacon, but I’ve learned how to save myself.
You will always be my hero, but I don’t need you to rescue me, because I’m not broken.
I am comfortable with my life swings, but understand you may not be.
Talk to me. I will always listen through my questions, and try to be better for us.
Step Four: I change my mind a lot, but not about you. If I say “I love you,” I mean it.
I have abnormal reserves of energy. A relentless “green-light gal,” straddling my bike, knee-deep in passionate projects.
I move fast, in a flow of change and growth. Forward is my favorite direction, and you do not need to keep up with me.
Let my wild soul be free, and I will always come back to you.
Do not attempt to control me, I will buck you off, like an untamed pony.
Teach me your “water” ways, and ask me to watch a Sunday movie marathon. I will fall asleep on your chest because I’m worn out, and I will love you forever.
Step Five: I like to cuddle.
I am a tactile woman. Picture a barnyard cat. I will hold your hand, and randomly crawl into your lap.
You can tell me, “not now,” and I will respect your space (sometimes), but I’m persistent, so you may have to tell me more than once.
I think you may find it endearing, and you never have to worry about feeling desired.
Step Six: I love hard, laugh loud, and am unafraid of your darkness.
You will never have to question if I love you.
Please tell me to “simmer down” if my loves gets too fierce or suffocating.
I will fight for you, with you, and beside you every day. I come on strong, like an Ethiopian cup of black coffee, but with a sweet melody of tenderness.
I laugh a lot, especially at my own jokes. Laugh with me, because life is more fun with belly cackling. It releases endorphins.
Play with me. Sing with me. Dance with me. And when your demons emerge, I will hold your gaze with a compassionate pre-fight stare down.
I am not afraid of the underworld, yours or my own. I will hold space for you, like a timeless mother as we rock back home together.
Step Seven: Vulnerability scares me, but is a gateway to freedom, so let’s do this.
Intimacy with every moment, is what I live for. Being “exposed” also terrifies me.
I want you to see me. The parts of me not everyone sees. I want to see you too. The secret places not meant for the rest of the world. I want you to trust me with your fragility…and I will give you mine.
I am skittish to love again, and know there are steps I’m forgetting to tell you, but at least you have basic navigation tools.
Please be patient with me, I am a constant “work in progress,” but I do not shy away from hard work.
I am stronger, wiser, and more ready than I’ve ever been.
I am not in a rush to find you, because I am too entrenched in what Mary Oliver describes as, “our one wild and precious life.”
Perhaps one day I will meet you in this Rumi poem,
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”