is it love if it doesn’t make you cry?

when I talk about falling in love, my mother goes quiet.
she tells me that loving shouldn’t be synonymous with falling.
she tells me to walk with love, not fall into it.
that love shouldn’t hurt.
that you shouldn’t have to cut off your wings to land in it.
oh but mother, how can one love without hurting?
without peeling my skin away to show all the fragile lurking below?

we’ve been taught that love means falling off rooftops for them and throwing yourself in front of trains for them.  we’ve been taught that love feels like your lungs when the air gets knocked out of them, or your eyes when they sting.

when I was five they taught me that a boy who hurts you probably likes you.
I believed them.
I believed that love is when he trips you on playgrounds and tugs at your hair in class.

the first time I really loved, it felt too much like falling and too little like learning to fly.
it felt like plucking the wings from my own back.
it felt like being pushed from a cliff one thousand times over.

every love since then had been disappointment.
the feeling before a car crashes.
the brakes that hit so hard you slam your head against the windshield.
every love since then had been so much drowning, trying to breathe when you know you shouldn’t.

when a love didn’t hurt, it didn’t feel real.
if it didn’t hurt, it left me with so much empty; so much numb.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write
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