I crave the peace of knowing another. Of another knowing me. At 1 AM the past lovers who never made it past six months haunt me. I am afraid to love, and I am afraid to be loved because those moments are what keep me up at night. When they told me they loved me. When they made my coffee with a spoonful of brown sugar just the way I like it even though it tasted like burnt soil. As they held my body while I painfully cried to them about the worries of my world. And the next day told me they weren’t ready to be in a relationship. I am afraid to love because of the lover I didn’t hold close enough to my heart, who cared for me as though I was their world, I could never love them in the way they loved me. Who planned to make me their soulmate. But soulmates can’t be made. Who I lied to when I told them my love was true. Who I left with the first excuse of disrespect. I am scared to love because of the lover who laughed when I cried myself to sleep beside them, because they threw me down the stair’s nights before. Or who cut off the world around me so that I could be their little doll while they slept with any woman who looked at them. Who I begged to stay. The worst of it all is that I let this distorted vision of love be. I let a man bomb my perceptions and make me believe he loved me. I held onto the man who I did not deserve as I was terrified to be alone. I allowed a man to treat me like an object because maybe he could grow to love me. And in all these situations I did not care for the one thing that mattered. Me.

I am scared to love. I don’t know if I ever have loved. I don’t know if I deserve love. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to love. That fear of love is ingrained in my being. In my soul. I am a hopeless romantic. But I might be the hopeless romantic for myself. I take myself for lunch and make my own coffee in the morning. I sit for hours on end writing a shitty poem for that one man who I believed I loved. I run myself a bath and drink cheap wine. I laugh with friends and pour my soul into them. I know me. That is enough. And I will never seek a man that cannot love every inch of my being, every inch of my soul. And maybe then when my love is pure, I will crave the game of love once more.