i could love you with abandon i thought
as he turned away

i felt myself leave to go after him
but i stood tall
and retrieved myself
with a deep breath in

i cannot tell you
how embarrassingly i have lost myself
in the bodies of others
i often merge on meeting

i used to think,
how else can i connect
if i don’t give everything
if i don’t leave myself for you
isn’t that love true?

but this time
something different happened

you see
i like this boy
in a way that’s startling for me
so it has my attention
because i have learned to never disregard
connection that feels special
i have learned to never take for granted
when souls meet
and already know each other

with him
i can feel my compassion
fuse with certainty
and i have never felt stronger
or more vulnerable

the cuts from the ones before
sting with the slightest breeze
and i find myself more alert than ever
in a way i was so definitively needing

i had gotten a bit lazy
sloppy even maybe
with how i was using my time
with how i was burning my energy
with how i was insisting on freezing

and now,
now i am waking up
while thawing out

and while falling in love is so beautiful,
i’ve loved before
this feels completely different
because i am learning to love
without losing myself

so the person loving
maybe for the first time ever
is actually me

and for a girl who used to get on every ride
that welcomed her
chasing flickers of light
as she blacked out

this is just the sweetest
most tender thing

and i wish you could feel
what i feel
in my chest
as i breathe this

it is how i imagine sunlight feels
dancing on water
making everything it touches
shine brighter

but you could go under
a voice rises swiftly in me
just as the brightness
becomes almost too much for me
this one might cut deep
i hear fear shriek
as my body clenches instinctively

the contrast so confronting
i know i have to choose
there is no room for ambiguity here
there is no in-between
or gray zone i can float in aimlessly

my life demands precision
my heart insists on purity
my body craves surrender

so as i feel myself folding in
as i notice the cold creeping in
and i remember how this started
i remember how i knew
how i knew so soon
i could love you
with abandon

and i remember
how that scared me
and then, i remembered how i stayed
with me, even as i felt you leave
i was able to stay with me
while feeling you
and i know there is no way
i am running away
there is no way i’m going to let fear
get more airtime than love with me

there is no way
i am not going to see
if there is love like
what i imagine it could be

this is such a new distinction for me
perhaps you too lose yourself
when you fall

it is remarkably common i have found
and i think it is what we actually fear most
yes, it is painful to lose someone you love
but i think it is a unique form of excruciating
to find you have lost yourself as well

and this is what we go through
as things crumble
and then one day we wake up
and think, how did i get here
who is this person
when did i become this shell of me

and we have to heal
a broken heart
while realizing
we no longer know ourselves

and that my friends
is hard
and why i believe breakups
elicit such terror

we fear we will lose
a person
the relationship
what we dreamed together

that is a lot of loss for anyone to bear
and so we keep our hearts at bay
and our fears fed

i am aiming to play differently
i am game for trying something new
i am leaning into loving with abandon
without leaving me

and while that may sound rather contradictory
i am pretty sure it is possible
because in moments
i feel it quite literally
and now the practice
is just learning how to extend it consistently

life is lived paradox
and the more i embrace this
the more possibilities i see
to love in a way
that feels

❤️emily joy rosen

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