I love you.  But I’m not in love with you.

    You know the difference and I know the difference and that’s all that matters.  Because no matter what anyone else says about what love is and should be, we always present a united front on what love has become: comfort.

    I would like to understand how you could have ever fallen in love with me - wanted to fill my grumpy face with soft kisses in the morning.
    I wonder how you could love someone who is falling apart in front of your very eyes and how you could just pick up the pieces, stick them back together and continue on forward without a second thought of how weak i was.
    I want to know why you love me.
    But you’re a man of such few words that you would never tell me.
    But mostly, I want to know why after all this time I was suddenly very okay with how a man could make me feel dainty and wanted - feminine.  I want to know why a love like yours could make me want more even though it goes against my own personal mantra of having a man take care of me - I’m a prideful bitch, I can take care of myself, dammit.
    But then I realize that I take care of you too, by letting you take care of me.
    And there is no better beautifully fucked up circle that is our love.

    it didn’t matter before


    Because I learned that everything that held matter before,
    doesn’t matter any more
    than the way the sun chooses to kiss the earth
    from the game of Tetris it plays with the skyscrapers 
    to the dead end of a heartbeat, of a beautiful soul
    the way the ocean continues to nudge itself along the shores
    despite the inevitable fade into the miniscule grains.
    Because the cruel remarks and the way people have stared
    is no more matter than the way you choose to react and decide
    how to walk pass them with your heart intact, still there.
    Everything that mattered before
    doesn’t seem so much to matter any more
    than the air that cradles you on holidays
    the way your parents love you, through everything, anyways
    and the look in your mother’s eyes on the days you can still
    curl up, adult now, in her lap, to cry.
    Because loving the lover whom you thought loved to love you
    seemed to pick apart your most integral parts
    but it is no more matter than the way you reach out
    to the less fortunate ones on the streets that raised you,
    the same streets that could not raise them.
    Because I learned that everything that held matter before,
    doesn’t matter any more
    than the way Sunday morning feels when you spend Saturday night in
    the way home made messes taste to the way your skin feels, 
    untouched or made.
    It doesn’t matter when you find the matters now
    radiating in the ways you sought love 
    but instead collected sadness in the hollows of your bones
    any more than the most empty places and the most broken people
    have guided you to real affection
    and held your hand until you found the direction

    There’s something sound about a quiet night that is encompassed by snoring in the background by a loved one and facing another person who once was a significant part of your world but it now making an effort to be a small part once again.  There’s something impressive in the way you could see how she was telling you her story and trying to hold back tears because she’s too proud to cry. Or, you realize, it’s because she’s trying not to put a burden on you with her tears because she probably knows that you have much to deal with as well; she needs someone to talk to, to get a second opinion.  You want to hold her, coddle her, protect her from a path that you know she never wanted – but you also know that you have to toughen her up and give her the reality because as much as she is going to appreciate you being there for her to take away your burdens, you also know that perhaps one day you won’t be there so you can give her the tools she needs to do it herself.  And you know that because of this, one day she will look back and know that you had helped her even though it was harsh – you know that you won’t be forgotten.

    And so in a moment of determination, you decide that you will steel through this and give her what it takes and you’re going to make her understand through the haze of hurt, because pain is always the best teacher.  But you’ll be there…to shoulder her against it in any way that you can.

    I am still learning about myself but I swear I am getting there


    I used to cry sitting on the rims of the toilet, legs and toes still dangling from my height with stubby fingers around my chin, with my mother watching her own reflection and through the mirror, at me. “Honey, don’t listen to what those boys said. Let me tell you a secret..” and she did. I was 8 years old and still believed in Santa Claus. But I still believe this fairy tale to this day. 

    My mother said she had a friend who always felt ugly and mind us, she wasn’t the prettiest girl. But she would tell herself so every day. She would wake up, go to the mirror and murmur beneath shy breaths, “I am pretty.” and then, my mother said, the girl did grow prettier with every day. 

    Will it work on me? I asked. Holding my face in her palms, my mother smiled and nodded. 

    I did this, often. I tell this to people, often. I’ve received numerous messages from girls who question their insecurities and cry their unlovable parts. And all I can really say is: give yourself something. Wake up on a different side of the bed. Change up your routine. And when you’re in front of the mirror every day, stare hard and straight at your reflection and tell yourself today, you are you. That’s the best promise you could make yourself, every day. And on days you don’t feel pretty, tell yourself that you are, anyway. And in your lifetime, do one thing that you never thought you would do, do one thing that scares you, do one thing that thrills you. 

    And I found all of that at Unveiled Fitness. 

    I have been to hip hop, ballet and various pole fitness studios but the amount of passion I drew from them is incomparable to the fire burning in my heart after a class at Unveiled. I’ve never sought passion to be in the form of movement simply because I didn’t think I was capable of anything that requires letting go of your inhibitions and self-doubts. I grew up a wallflower and I grew up loving to read, write, draw and paint. The most action I exerted from my body was used in orchestra and marching band. Aside from that, I was as stiff as a chair leg and as awkward as Ugly Betty gets.

    If nobody else tells you, I will tell you right now that you are too worried about things like your weight or whether or not your shirts are arranged perfectly by color on their uniform wooden hangers in your closet. I will tell you that people don’t notice, not because they don’t care, but because we sweat the small stuff and that you are beautiful no matter what color eyeshadow you wear. Love what you are given and love what you already have. Love yourself humble, gracious and clean. And that is what, not only the art of pole dancing, but Unveiled Fitness taught me. I quickly fell in admiration for the beautiful and strong instructors here. I looked forward to Jacqueline’s laugh and ease in helping me be myself in front of a crowd and I was so touched and inspired by Kelly W.’s grace and class, and in her beliefs in what makes a woman feel sexy, secure and free. I made new friends who shared the same idiosyncrasies and insecurities. And I was finally able to tell all of my own friends, who are dancers themselves, that I finally understood the art of dance and the undying crave for the fleeting moment of letting yourself escape to find inner sanctuary.

    In our generation, we seem to forget how to live, walking on tight ropes and praying to God we don’t fall. But we don’t even pray, anymore. And when we do, we pray for the wrong reasons. We like to make lovers of phrases, stick to them like we know how to. We like to keep secrets and hold them under our tongues while they soften our faces. We like to pretend. And sometimes it’s hard to find the love, especially seeing sadness as scabby tracks worming their way down wrists. Sometimes, you get addicted to the sadness. Like it’s the only thing that you will ever know and excel at. But that’s only the unlovable parts of you talking. Choose to focus and anchor yourself to something more. I anchored myself to this sport and art, to the people who are holding my hand in guidance and to the woman I am beginning to feel myself becoming. Unveiled Fitness has helped me fall in love, not with anyone else, but with myself.

    What Is Love?

    Love is when the ocean continuously laps his waves upon the shore, just for a quick caress.  But he always retreats because he sees how happy she is, shining underneath the Sun’s sparkling rays.  But he never ceases his ministrations, because love is kind, patient and persistent.  And so he waits until the Sun retreats, to leave his woman unguarded – something the ocean would have never done – and realizes that he only really shines in the dark and his beloved deserves the light.

    Love is when your arms reach out for someone who is not there but you conjure his imaginary form anyways because the thought of absence would break your already feeble mind.

    Love is when you have to entire in his Apple ID and password along with yours to update the apps on your phone.

    Love is when you just want to have a quick fuck before you have to wake up for the rest of the day because sometimes a quick fuck is what you want and need – and you’re okay with calling it a fuck because you’re that secure in the relationship.  There is always time for making love.
    Because love is patient.

    Love is finding a pair of his boxers in your underwear drawer and taking a silly kind of delight in knowing your things are so together but then you feign anger and yell at him for not putting his stuff in the right place when you went through the pain of clearing out a drawer and half a closet for him. Then he goes, “Oh, so that’s where they went!”

    Love is when he moves in with you slowly, with sweaters and socks that slowly make an appearance until finally, when you say home, you mean the one that you both share.  Home, for him, isn’t where his parents’ home is, anymore.

    Love is when he goes downstairs and makes that steaming cup of coffee just the way you like it with just too much sugar and too much cream but it’s absolutely perfect because he woke you up with the taste of it on his lips and tongue.  And even though it’s too sweet, the taste of him immediately tampers down the taste just like he knew it would.

    Love is when you find him crawling around on the floor, playing with the kitten you had gotten him for his birthday even though he was not home to see it for another two months.  It’s when he’s completely content to lay on the floor to act as a bed for Simba when the bed would have sufficed but that was not what the kitten wanted.

    Love is when he carries the laundry basket full of both of your things and he washes it all by himself, as well as folds it all by himself just to put it all away just by himself without an ounce of guidance from you because he knows exactly where everything goes.  It’s when he can grab your pair of panties that are not the least bit sexy and puts them away in your underwear drawer without complaining of how hideous it looks.

    Love is when he’s met your best friend and you could see the exact moment when realization came into his eyes and he accepted the fact that if he was going to love you, he had to love your best friend too.

    Love is when text messages aren’t flying back and forth between the two of you and half of the time they’re met with a frown, not with a smile so wide you’re scared you might crack your face in half.

    Love is when you can be in one room together for a whole day doing absolutely nothing but maybe play computer games and not utter a single damn word to each other.

    Love is when the two of you can look at another couple and know if there is love between them, but you’ve also created this own secret language defined by the smiling eyes and curved lips so you don’t have to wait until you get into a closed location to gossip.

    Love is when he looks forward to running errands with you.

    Love is when his alarm goes off at five in the morning every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and he kisses the little crease between your eyebrows so that you can go back to sleep because the sight of you frowning does things to him he cannot explain.

    Love is when you’re threatened by an ex who will willingly divulge secrets to him but you’re not concerned a damn bit because you know that he knows that your word is the ultimate word.

    Love is when your ex best friend makes an effort to break the two of your apart because of her own insecurities and the two of you will waste five minutes of the thirty that he has in Basic Training to call you just laughing both of your asses off because it was just plain silly to try and come between a love like that.

    Love is when you say, “No, I don’t want chipotle” and he says “okay” but then he comes home with yours anyways and just stuffs it in the fridge and you find it later with a quick little flutter in your stomach because he knew even when you didn’t.

    Love is when you would tickle him for hours if he would let you because there was a time when his smile was the only thing that had gotten you through those dark times when your own smile was nonexistent.

    Love is when he’s a fierce protector but he keeps his mouth shut because he’s the kind of man who knows when his woman wants him to fight her battles and when she needs him to.
    And it kills him to admit that 99% percent of the time, she will never need him to but it’s a good kind of death.

    Love is when he watches How to Tame Your Dragon with you and you catch him trying to suppress his smile the whole time because he’s trying not to like it but he secretly does and neither of you even breathes of his breach in masculinity.

    Love is when you, him and your best friend can share a bed together with you in the middle and you don’t hear an utter of complaint from him as long as you’re the one he’s laying right next to and not her.

    Love is when he gives you that devilish little look while you’re smoking a cigarette and his jaw starts ticking that makes you want to just put out your cigarette so that you can kiss that tic away and just fuck right then and there because he’s so fucking hot when he’s frustrated.

    Love is when he comes home from three months of basic training and tells you how he wants to sell his motorcycle and trade in his Acura for a more fuel efficient car because he wants to be a “family man” and is already planning for the future the two of you will have in ten years.

    Love is when you asked him why he joined the ROTC program and he says, “Well I told my parents it’s because they pay for college but the real reason is because you will have free health care.” And so you say, “But I already have healthcare.” And he says, “Well my direct family will have free, good healthcare in the future and seeing as to how you’re going to be my wife and you’re going to give me children, I want us to have the best healthcare.” And then your heart gives a little flutter because that has got to be the most romantic thing he has ever said to you but you still end up saying, “Nice proposal, now where’s my forty thousand dollar ring?”

    Love is when’s he’s fast asleep and you’re up late reading but you turn to him anyways and you kiss that adorable little nose of his - then he scrunches it up and turns away from you because he’s uncomfortable and he’s asleep, for christsakes, so let the man sleep.

    Love is when you’ve come up with your own shower rhythm with him; shampoo, condition, loofa him, get loofaed, face wash.  And then leave the shower to be wrapped in a towel by him.

    Love is when he doesn’t notice that you got your nails done, hair done – until you ask him and suddenly he tells you a whole essay of what he noticed and your heart flies even though you know he just thought about it off the top of his head.

    Love is when you’re sitting in the car telling him of all this inconsequential drama and you see his face, the one that says he’s only half listening, saying “uh huh,” and “okay” at the right times but you shrug because you actually don’t care since he’s the only one that listens, even if it’s only halfway.  So you keep telling him anyways.

    Love is when he’s got this new music on his iPod that he keeps playing over and over and you know that pretty soon he’ll tire of it and you point it out and he says, “impossible.”  Then two weeks later you say, “I told you so,” and all he does is say, “Jamieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” with a shy, guilty look on his face.

    Love is when you know his password to everything and he knows yours and the both of you know each other’s PIN to the bank and you use his but he doesn’t use yours because your money is your money and his money is your money.

    Love is when you don’t celebrate every fucking month that you’ve been together.

    Love is when you downplay your relationship all the time because you don’t want anyone else to know the depth of it; you’re selfish like that.

    Love is when people look at the two of you and think they know everything when they don’t know shit and so you give them that secret smile you’ve prepared that has shark teeth that says, “if you make another assumption, I’ll bite your head off.”

    Love is when you don’t put his ass on a pedestal because you know he can’t handle the spotlight like that and plus…you should be the one on the throne (and you are).

    Love is when you look forward to those late mornings together, not because you get to cuddle until the afternoon but because you can play Gears of War 3 with him until your eyes pop out of your head.

    Love is when you go to chipotle with him to pick up your food because you’re not sure if he’s going to get you the extra rice you asked for.

    Love is when you get a savage thrill when he gets angry because it means you’re going to have rough sex later and you can’t wait.

    Love is when the both of you pretend to have the thug life and you blast rap music and you’re doing the Rick Ross grunt while he raps Weezy F. Baby.

    Love is when you both talk about getting matching tattoos of your anniversary because that way you could both silently celebrate everyday of being together without being annoying about it.  Also, so you can trace his tattoo with your tongue.  Mmmmmm. But you’re both just pussyfooting around because you both are too chickenshit to actually get them: he faints at the sight of a needle and you hyperventilate unless you get that numbing cream your pediatrician still gives you when you get a blood test.

    Love is when you can make conditions for marriage like making him read a book series that you’re completely infatuated with.

    Love is when you’re the aggressive one and he’s the peacemaker and you don’t know how you went three months without him because you were so close to burning the whole world when just a simple scolding from him would have quelled your desires.

    Love is when the biggest issues the two of you have is him throwing his clothes on the floor and not having sex with you when you demand it.

    Love is when he was there when no one else was because everyone thought you needed space to put yourself back together when in reality it was just easier for everyone else to ignore something they never knew or asked about.

    And lastly, love is when you wake up and reach over for some sentimental lovin` only to find the bed empty.  So you roll over to his side anyways and bury your face into his pillow to smell his scent.  But when you do, you don’t smell a damn thing – like he had never been there and your reality begins to shatter because you thought you had made him up this whole time.  Then you remember how when you were little that you couldn’t recognize your own scent and you finally know what love is: love I when you are both so intertwined in each other’s lives that your two separate scents have started to mingle and become one until you can no longer detect him or yourself.  And so you smile into his pillow, falling asleep, entertaining the thought that this nothingness is what your children will smell like.



    She’s got a smile that shines like Christmas lights and a body that melts like snow. Somebody once asked her how she does it - she didn’t really know - and she lied through her bulbs and said she faked it, found that smile in a box next to all the photographs that should’ve been caught in a fire, in a flood, buried beneath the sycamore where she was first explored by a man who had two first names and a slump in his step. She fakes it. And she faked it with him when he held her underwear in his fist. (He keeps her name there now.) And she faked it when her mother died, the coffin made of sycamore and pine. It smelled like lilies and how she was supposed to cry. She couldn’t do it, said she would fake it until she died beneath that sycamore, until the lights in her gums all dimmed out. She’s got a missing finger. She said it’s the one that leads to her heart, to her apricot colored lungs, to the secrets she keeps buried in her spine. I asked her why she faked it, she said it was so that nobody would look at her, her lips the color of invisible, her mouth the shade of an imaginary friend. She said nobody asks you questions when you are colored in by God, when you are held in between reality, when your eyes are colored space, that if you fake it, you can be lonely behind the lights and the sycamores and in the melt of the snow just as it turns to spring when your mother’s tombstone is cracking and the man with two first names is kissing his wife beneath a different kind of tree. Fake it so that nobody asks you questions, so that nobody wonders why you’ve got a missing finger or why you never cried at your mother’s funeral, the sky the color of lilies and tears held in a box where you found your smile, a promise and a whisper keeping your body cold beneath the shade.


    Love, I don’t know how to break it to you, but love isn’t about sharing secrets, it’s about holding all these scars and seeing whispers, it’s about speaking like you’re in a forest when you having nothing left but lungs, about intimacy that glows like a firefly made of sunset, about sacrificing your name just to see a smile that reminds you of the moon. It’s about hearing thunder and only thinking about heartbeats. It’s about the things we do in the dark and how they are sacred, curling up with skin that smells like home, tastes like the sea, all the futures you can hold.

    (Love, I only wrote this for you because you told me your real name. I won’t tell my soul, but I’ll write it in this poem, in the curve of your nose as it crinkles up to kiss me in the dark, in the sacred, in the space that smells like home.)

    She sat and wondered why life was worth living. And then she met him. It didn’t mean she had found the reason for living- she just knew she wanted to be with him and to be able to remember; she supposed that meant she had to live even though she was a broken shell of a woman. I guess you could say she repaired herself enough and prayed he never found her not whole enough to love him wholeheartedly - and to never discover how not-enough she was for him. Life is a lie. But she finally found her truth.

    I want to be able to write my story about the Sun and the Moon and the Earth again; about demons and angels and Gods and Goddesses.  I want to be able to live the life I have always wanted with wings - through the words that my pen hand creates.

    I want to live in a fantasy world for the next month, until he brings me back to a reality I will gladly live, with him.

    Cowardice and Questions

    You are a coward.

    You hide in the crevices of the online world, uttering your own personal secrets, and yet it is quite obvious that you’re running from a past you had constructed.  It must kill you that I’m a living, breathing, talking result of history that you had fucked up and created with those dainty, destructive hands of yours.

    I wonder, now that time has put distance between our end, if you have ever sat down and wondered why I never stroke back in what would have been a justified blaze of fury in the middle of a passive war that would have ensured your annihilation and my glorious victory.  I wonder if you know how I could have destroyed you in that moment, spilling all your secrets in retribution for your betrayal.  I wonder if you know that I could have created a past that would have haunted your future with humiliating pictures that would have followed you around even in that Internet hole you have found.

    I wonder if you regret your impulsive, selfish nature that had caused an end to something beautiful.  I wonder if you have realized now, that the fault was yours for pushing me away when there had been no opposite force to buffer the sting of rejection I had felt every damn day just to find you whining and complaining about how you had no one to listen to you.

    You say you never trusted me, and I sit on my swing, blowing smoke like halos, wondering what I could have possibly done that had warranted the title of “untrusting bitch.”  Could it have possibly been when I reunited you with the man you love, using jealouys as a fuel for love to give you what your soul had been desperately screaming for?  Or could I have been the time I did a favor him as a favor for you?  Or maybe it was the time that I was the only one that listened to not only what you were saying, but understood what you didn’t say – or better yet, when I never said it out loud for preservation of a pride you never knew you had.  Or possibly the time I defended you when you were unwilling to defend yourself.  I was the boyfriend you didn’t want but had anyways and I gave you everything he didn’t so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised what I had experienced your mood swings like whiplash in the same manner.

    Did you know that I printed out that last conversation where you showed your true poisonous nature, baring my secrets to the world in an effort to bare my heart and soul just to have him break them?  The conversation stands as a reminder on my wall to never let you back in and to warn me off others.  Does it bother you that your devious plan was unsuccessful and that instead of leaving me, he held on tighter, thousands of miles away, trying to protect me from a threat he had foreseen months before?

    And so now, you hide in your corner and show everyone else what you want them to see – which is a victim – and you contemplate thoughts that are straight out of a cheesy quote book and I wonder if you realize that you live your life through the words of others and that your thoughts are unoriginal.  I wonder if you realize that my words had set you free, for a time and all your words did was regurgitate mines in that butchered way of yours. 

    But I must commend you, because even your inartistic, repetitive words managed to trap me in your own insecurities until I found myself trying to fix you in an effort to fix myself. 

    Bravo.  Can I get an encore?


    if you’re really different like you say you are, then you have to make cheap talk more expensive because words mean more than nothing and i’ve been forced to witness far too many tragedies and get my heart broken, my mind numb and dumb in strange places i do not quite recall anymore. but if you truly mean it when you say you’re different, show me that you can call strange home. make your promises more than just mere dark trust because talk is just too cheap to be bought by any of us.