I feel vastly underprepared to write an ode to love, surely poets with hearts much greater than my own have done much better. Nonetheless, this pencil writes its own humble story, and that will be good enough. Each lover would rather see the simple words from their beloved than a thousand sonnets by Shakespeare, or lines penned by Rumi. The sweetness flows from the connection, not from the sophistication or elegance of its expression.

I sing the song I wrote for my beloved. It’s not the most beautiful. The crappy mic on my cell phone picks up all of the passing cars and wind. I mess up the words. The tempo drags in some places and speeds up in others. None of this matters. He’s heard nothing finer. I’m one of the most multi-talented person he’s ever met, so says he. I believe him.

Love can burn more than any other emotion. It’s harder to soften into love than it is to hang onto bitterness and cynicism. Love will crack you wide open. It grabs onto you with its teeth and shakes you like a limp teddy bear that’s been through the washing machine a few dozen too many times. Love’s no fucking joke. We only hang onto such a powerful force because it hurts so good. The scalpel slices down through bone and marrow, cleaving apart pieces of ourselves we thought were fine - these old, broken facets of ourselves that lay dying. Love shows us the person we’re becoming through the eyes of someone new. Intense infatuations capture us by showing us the new person we’re molting into. It’s all too easy to believe the other person makes us feel the delicious yearning, but in truth those feelings come from us. No one can make you feel anything. This would be a great disappointment were it not for the beauty of realizing the love we feel towards the beloved is from us and for us. They hold the space for the transformation with which sparks those intense feelings, but the feelings are within you.

List five things you love most about whatever you’re most intensely falling in love with. It doesn’t have to be a lover, it could be a friend, plant, event, activity, place in nature. Of my new beloved, I’ll list -

  • Deep kindness and gentleness

  • Fierce willingness to fight for the space to explore sexuality & go on this adventure, risking everything

  • Connected to sensuality via smell & unapologetic about it

  • Unafraid to express overflowing love

  • Dogged devotion

Now read back the list, flipping the mirror back around at yourself. Each one of them likely is true of yourself as well. If you find it hard to believe you have these characteristics, they may be ones you’re just newly growing into. It can be tough to accept that you really do embody these traits, but I’m willing to bet you do. Ask your beloved if they think so to get more assurance.

Our new beloved sees us through fresh eyes, unbound by the tyranny of our pasts. One might say they know less about you because of that, but in a sense they see us more accurately than we see ourselves. The self of the past is dead. We are created new in each moment. That they see you untainted by those old selves frees them to know the you of the present moment. Which is more true?

Our beloveds (at their best at least) show us who we are becoming. They view us in our best lights. We see our becoming selves reflected in their eyes, and that mirror shows the way forward.

My hope for you, beloved, is to see yourself with the same gentleness as you see me and to know that the warm fullness in your chest and sparkles of hot and cold all over are for you. I made space for them to appear, but the beauty of the love you feel for me is all yours. You make so much joy in my life and others by loving us so generously and unreservedly. I love being loved by you. Every creative needs at least one true fan. It's’ what keeps us going. You are that for me and for the comic book artists you run around to like a 10-year-old boy. Thank you for being such a gorgeous dork. Your enthusiasm makes my day.