When I first fell for you, I was more afraid than I had ever been. I woke up every morning to a powerful fear twisting at my stomach. Anxiety whispered that you were going to be my greatest failure- maybe you weren’t something worth leaving my job, family, and friends behind for. What if you ended up demanding too much of me? After all the daydreaming and planning, what if I wasn’t worthy of you?
I pushed through the fear, reminding myself that life was meant to be lived outside of the comfort zone. You would be worth every sacrifice and every anxious morning. You had to be. Any other outcome was unacceptable.
I wasn't sure that I could trust you. You demanded that I be braver than I thought I could be. You pushed for bolder steps into new unknowns, each day further proving that the only one who thought I wasn't enough was me. You encouraged me to speak new languages, sample new foods, and meet new people. We stayed out too late in Barcelona, got lost in the Irish countryside, missed Italian trains, ate too much pierogi, and danced too hard on German dance floors.
You were an ocean away from everything familiar. There were times that I had never felt more alone, yet you made me feel whole.
I knew as I gazed at the Meteora monasteries in Greece that you were going to be different than anything or anyone I’d loved before. If I was hurting, you would stitch me back together. Even if every part of my heart was shattered, I would always have you.
You challenged me to see people in a different light- not as faceless and cold political parties or enemies, but as individual souls who hurt, love, and feel deeply. You gently urged me to loosen my grasp on my heart so that others could see the treasure within. You told me I was strong, and for the first time in my life, I began to believe it. You made me feel invincible. With you, I could do anything.
You tapped into my wildness, the parts of me that I had always kept sacred and secret. With each new experience, the locks fell away. Everything quiet and captive inside me rushed out: strength, beauty, determination, joy, compassion, light, hope, courage, and love. I had spent years expertly making myself small and hidden, yet you found me and forced me to be present in the world, and furthermore, to make my presence known. I still have moments when I try to fit in boxes, to make myself small again, but when I look at my tattoo of the word "valiente," (brave) on my wrist, I remember the forces of nature that rumble inside my soul.
When Covid-19 put everything on hold, I fell to pieces. I didn’t know how to function without you. Yet somehow, in the stillness and solitude, something beautiful emerged all the same. You whispered to my wandering heart that the adventure for now was in finding contentment in the stillness. Somehow, you were with me even then, and we picked our way out of the darkness together.
And now, as I sit in this airport, blissfully reunited with you once again, I'm grateful for everything you have taught me and for all the lessons we have yet to learn together. Thank you for showing me the beauty of the "right now." Thank you for the freedom to be myself, without judgement or fear. Thank you for every person you've brought across my path, and for every lesson I learned from them. Thank you for continually challenging me to become a person I can be proud to be.