Does love excite you as much as it did when you were a child hooked on Disney, or can you explain?

A letter to myself as I shall be single, again, this Valentine's. Mostly by choice, but I am beginning to question myself a little. Just a teeny bit.

The first time you fall in love, it will feel intoxicating. Like sunbeams on the moon’s skin, you will stay radiant even when the dark of night appears. You will bet your life that it will last forever. Indeed it will, but only in a cautionary tale that hope and faith do not resuscitate that which is already stiff in death.

Love, I have learnt, morphs and evolves into what you need in that season. Love is not a single-faced playing card. Love is all cards in the tarot deck and a kaleidoscope. Reflecting what she receives and giving a more beautiful token of grace in return.

Love can be reckless- mine has often been. Yet still, love takes no debts. No bridges are burnt, only forgotten for a bit.

Boxed up and put on a shelf, leaving weeds to grow around the pathways formed over troubled waters. They do not calm the rioting despair swirling within the waves but exist instead inside of them.

Love exists in the silence of words unsaid as pungent as it does in words spoken and actions professed with pride. Like the sun and moon, love helps the other exist by sharing light and space.

So, I know the intrusive gaze of the sun over our days as affection. I know the shrinking of the moon as care because the stars, like us all, need extra attention on some nights of the year.

Love is the full spectrum of emotions. Joy, in finding someone who wishes they could fix the world so you can feel safe in it again. Peace, in cuddles from your pet. Pain, in knowing love could leave in the time it takes you to breathe in again.

So, like the hopeful fool you are, you hold your breath never minding the obvious truth of your weak core. Thinking that if you hold your breath forever, then this moment never ends. Your love- never leaves. This is flawed.

Love also tears you apart in its dual existence with hate. You loathe the ones you love so badly but would sweep in like a storm ready to rain fire when the world dares wish them harm.

Love looks like childhood picnics with friends under sheltering trees. Do you remember those? When you were young and so scare-free, always forgetting to wonder why no one else saw the joy and wonder you wore. Those giggles were so animated that juice often snorted out your nostrils.

Love is a journey of exploration. Finding things that already exist, giving names that are comfortable on the tongue. Names created from altered pronunciations of old, but also new ones. Choosing from the array until it tastes effortless as it rolls off one’s tongue. Love looks like all the names one is called. Names from mother, family, friends, strangers, lovers and even oneself.

Love exists in the knowledge of all the things one is called. Choosing which one tastes bitter and saving it in your arsenal as ammunition.

When in battle, love knows to remind me we are not enemies by calling out all names discovered as she journeyed my skin in layers leading to my core of existence. That is how I remember we are on the same side of the battlefield- when love calls out my full name. All the ones written down, spoken and imagined. Reminding me I am known, seen and cherished.

I do not know how to receive love yet. It is like I got worse with age. I never give people space to be patient or kind. I do my best to ensure they see me as vile and horrendous- only then do I find a sense of safety.

Safety has more to do with stability for me. Love and hate may be a thin line but hatred feels more palatable to my being. It seeps into my soul with greater ease. Hatred is stable. It is easy to live up to its expectations

Love is erratic. One that gives my soul indigestion. I keep running back to my darkness to purge it out. I thrive in self-loathing. I crave words of affirmation so much that I crumble as an entity from lack of it.