Iwoke up this morning and I felt a strand of my hair on my face. It induced an itch and as I scratched the spot, he came to my mind and I allowed them to occupy the entire space. Partly because it is thrilling. I could imagine we were in love and as he settled into my mind, I picked up my phone to call him. Yes, my night was uneventful. No, I have not eaten but I’m beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. Yes, I prepared some food the night before and I will get to that now. I love you too. Bye. I will call you later.  

Also, I felt like a thief when they wandered into my mind and I allowed them to stay. This person doesn’t belong with you. You have no right to smile at the thought of them. Stop imagining scenarios. Drown every thought of them. 

Then anguish: another person who doesn’t love me, I must be so unlovable, there must be a reason I am repulsive to love, I just haven’t figured it out, another person on my list of people that my love did not reach.

I try hard to convince myself that there is better ahead. But is there? Life is hard as it is and companionship should make it easier. But waking up in the middle of the night and rolling on to nothing stings. I saw a crow and I heard it caw but I have no one to tell this mundane thing to. Little things and big things that fill up my box of daily experiences are dying to be told after the question How did your day go? But each evening, I put on Friends to accompany dinner and I pretend to not feel the anguish of being unwanted and unlovable.

In My Liberation Notes, Mi Jung, whenever she went through hardships, would imagine that he whom she was yet to meet was there for her with consolation. I find balm in acting out these scenes. I act them out in my mind and I smile in the process. Yesterday, I smiled so hard that my roommate asked if I was thinking about my crushes and I laughed in response. 

With you, I am everything I think of myself to be: interesting, talented, kind, and funny. The worst things I think of myself to be are not true. I’m not the girl who tries her hand at everything and fails at most. To you, I can do anything and be a star. 

“Teach me your ways!” you say to me with pride.

I don’t feel like a burden you have to bear. I don’t have to be extraordinary to live life with you because I don’t have to pretend. I love my name better because you pronounce it exactly the way I like it; with a Yoruba accent. I think I’m funny because you laugh at my jokes and the feeling is new because given my short end of the speech stick, I never saw myself as funny. You make love to me. I am a joy to you. Not your overachieving, glamorous, and bombastic lover but the one that looks at you and smiles, always. The one that eats from your plate. The one whose shoulders have soaked quite a few of your tears. Your simple human lover with flaws that she consciously chooses to work on every moment.

I think about you while walking home after a stressful day and I imagine you are somewhere, expecting my call. 

I was told to love myself but radical self-love as a journey isn’t an easy task. I will admit I find it difficult to look beyond my stomach to the facets of me that are beautiful. But I’m trying. I’m trying hard to see myself in the light that I want you to see me. My 22nd trip around the sun is coming to an end and I hope I get to receive a call from you on my birthday reminding me that you love me more than I can imagine and you are happy you are experiencing life with me. 

For me to be loved, what could I be? 

You whom I will meet someday, I wonder what it would feel like to sleep next to someone who saw me like he saw joy. Would I still wake up screaming from dreaming? Or would your arms around me nullify the part of my brain that summons up nightmares? I can’t wait to find out.