When I was in first grade, I had a crush on an older boy named Tim, a second grader. Our school had the two grades combined so I had the good fortune of sitting only a few feet away from him every single day.

 

Each morning before the school day began, we had a ritual. I would run to his desk and pick up whatever pencils he had left laying there the day before. I kissed each one before putting them down and running back to my own desk, red-faced and giggling with my girl friends. Tim had a part in the ritual too. He would take the pencils and either wipe them off with a show of embarrassment, or throw them away. (Tim and I are still in touch to this day,  he says he regrets the way he received my loyal affection.)

 

But what Tim did with my grand gestures is not the point.

 

The point is that I made them.

 

Every morning, day after day, I marched in and let him and everyone else know exactly how I felt: This is me. This is my heart. I love you, and I’m not afraid to say it.

 

When did that change? When did I begin hiding behind “What does he think of me?” And “Will he like me if? And “What does it mean that he said X, or didn’t say Y?” When did “I love you” start having anything to do with how someone else felt?

 

Well, no more. If I love you, you’re going hear about it. If I’m falling in love with you, you’re going to know that too. If you said or did the thing that just made my heart explode, expect me to say thank you thank you thank you, in whatever way I know how.

 

Because as much as I’ve spent my life longing to be loved, there is at least one thing that is even better…

what i have to give

 

 

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