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  • Lindsay S. Wheeler

The Origin

“That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable.”

-Deb Caletti

When we first met, I ran 20 miles to the music you sent me and I could’ve run 20 more without getting short of breath. You make me invincible.

Every weekend, I find myself losing my breath in gratitude for what I have. Loving you is like roasting the perfect marshmallow in front of the perfect fire in the softest flannel I’ve ever known. Like having puppies and babies and flowers that won’t die, even without water. It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever had to nurture.

When we met I had to get used to hearing I was perfect. What a lofty word. You said you were so in love with this life, that loving me was the easiest thing you’ve ever done. No one had ever said things like that about me. You were this brilliant thing, doting on me like I was the girl of your dreams. I was worth writing novels about. You brought my walls down in one chaotic crash.

Your hands gave me security and I remember the day I realized I would never again have to fight my own battles. Love meant they were our
battles now. No one would ever have the power to manipulate me, change me, or brand me with hate. I was better than enough.

At 6:14 PM on a Tuesday in February, I stopped allowing people to package me up as something I’m not. I stopped living for others and started living for myself, for us. The channel: Facebook. The message: I’m done living for you. I am fucking fantastic the way I am. I’m a warrior. We ate Thai food and wept all over ourselves. I’ll always be sorry that for the first few months you felt hidden. The pride I have for you is boundless. Looking at your face makes me melt into a puddle of sappy love songs.

To me, love is messy. And that’s not my fault. It took me 22 years to realize that; it took finding you. I was once taught that love should be confined and used sparingly; that it’s a privilege reserved only for the deserving. No one deserves that crap. I have baggage. I fear that if I lose you I lose everything so my walls come up now and again. Fighting with me is like fighting with a wall. I become vacant and immovable.

I’m not always so lovable but you and Andrea Gibson taught me that I am not weak just because my heart feels heavy. You picked one heavy heart. Somehow you still want to hold the organs I sob out of my chest on a regular basis and keep them safe in your hands until I can see again.

These are all words I’ve written while I’ve known you, in no particular order: “The mirror is no enemy to me anymore...Through the veins of human apathy hate spreads like fire...Time has no sympathy and for me it was running out - even the slowest leak can leave you soul-less and empty...I was stronger than that meager piece of thread I’d convinced myself I was...On this day I will try my best to remember that who I am is who I would choose to be 10 times over.” You filled me with the words I never thought I’d find. Hopeless sadness became a hopeful fight.

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