Slowly, Then All At Once.


I fell in love with him to the first few bars of this Vance Joy song. I fell in love, and it reminded me of the John Green quote about the same thing:


We were in bed, naked and exposed but not in the same way that I used to know exposure. Much less frightening, much more freeing. I turned on a random Spotify playlist, and as I rolled back over, into his arms, nose pressed to chest and his chin resting on my head, these first few bars played and I just knew I’d fallen. We eventually got swept away with our want for each other… but I knew. Slowly, then all at once.

I waited before telling him that I knew. He knows many of my scars – many are too invasive into our bubble, making themselves obnoxiously known even when I might have hoped they could stay quietly hidden. He’s learned about them when he’s undressed me, when he’s gone to get me water whilst I’m vomiting after a flashback, or when I wake him screaming because the room is too dark. Many of them are too irrepressible and assiduous to ignore. But there are some he probably can’t see quite so easily, and it was those scars that made me wait to tell him. Those scars were left later on, recently really. They’re better hidden than abuse scars, probably because I’ve got much better at making myself ‘socially acceptable’. When I was with my ex, I got much better at shoving down the emotions that cause scarring until I was nothing but numb.

I waited before telling him, because the scar left by loving someone more than they loved me strangles me and it restricted my free movement to burst smoothly and exuberently with the words of love that I wanted to say. So I waited.

He did say it first, whilst we were both soaked with sea water and covered in sand, on our first ever weekend away. A few nights later, we were listening to the Vance Joy album whilst he drove us home, and I told him, whilst half asleep, that I fell in love with him to the song.

I love it for more than just it’s beautiful melody and his exceptional voice, though. The lyrics are true poetry, the type that stops my heart and flips my stomach when I hear the words. The lyrics just make so much sense to me, to the way I love him.

And I could easily lose my mind
The way you kiss me will work each time
Pulling me back into the flames
And I’m burning up again
I’m burning up

Even when I’m tired, stressed, struggling, grumpy, he only has to kiss my neck, cuddle me from behind, or run his fingers down over my shoulders and spine, and I’m his. Every time. He has a way of turning me off to the stresses and scares of my life, and turning me on to him. Every time.

Lips generous and warm
You build me up like steps
Eyes innocent and wild
Remind me what it’s like

The other night, he told me I was mesmerising. He calls me beautiful when I’ve got yesterday’s makeup down my face or I’m halfway through brushing my teeth. He pulls the duvet away from my when I’m trying to hide my stomach. He pins me down to kiss my bottom a hundred times, even when I’m telling him it’s fat and ugly. He has built up my self esteem and my body image to a place it has never been. Slowly, carefully he is peeling back all the layers of shame and disgust that cover my body. He is tackling all my unhealthy, damaged beliefs. He has taught me how to enjoy sex, how to enjoy pleasure, and I’m constantly working on feeling those things without feeling shameful or wrong. It’s deeper than just that, though (although my body image has plagued me forever). He reminds me that I’m brave, strong willed, independent, intelligent, wild. He tells me everything he loves about me, and I am becoming more able to hear it. He builds me up, every day.

And I, I never understood what was at stake
I never thought your love was worth it’s weight
Well now you’ve come and gone
I finally worked it out
I worked it out

For years, I listened to others talk about their partners and their sex lives, and think that they must be lying. Exaggerating, at least. I convinced myself, in my last relationship, that feeling unwanted and unloved was normal. Was just what happened, over time. I feel like he is reminding me what I used to believe in, what I used to think a relationship would be, before I was ground down by what came after. I feel like I’ve finally worked it out.

I never should have told you
I never should have let you see inside
Don’t want it troubling your mind
Won’t you let it be

I panic occasionally (okay, maybe more than occasionally). I’m too much for him, my background is too much for him. It’s not fair for him to be woken in the night by my screaming. It’s not fair and he deserves better. He should leave, or I never should have told him, I never should have burdened him. He should have someone better, someone easier. Whenever I voice these concerns, he pulls me closer and tells me to shut up. He tells me that everything is better with me. I love that this song has this verse, though. It feels authentic to my experience of loving him. Fear mixed in with love.

She is something to behold
Elegant and bold
She is electricity
Running to my soul

And this is how I hope he feels. God, I hope so.

Slowly, and all at once. He’s wonderful, and I am so lucky.

And I could easily lose my mind
The way you kiss me will work each time
Pulling me back into the flames
And I’m burning up again, I’m burning up



14 responses »

  1. Beautiful. While I don’t have night terrors or vomit (they sound awful, I hope they ease as you heal! 😦 ) I can relate to feeling “it’s impossible that he loves me so despite my background”. He, too, has kissed me when I hate on my body. Kissed my scars and the parts of my body that I hate. Has hugged me when I’m triggered, has put my comfort and safety over his desires.

    You deserve good, true, passionate, non abusive love, and it seems like you have a keeper!

  2. Reading this has made me feel so grateful that you have this beautiful relationship in your life. It’s so beautifully written too.
    Thank you for writing with such vulnerability and grace.
    It is such a privilege to read.

    firefly x

  3. I’m going to be honest, I read this post and had an emotional breakdown. Reading about your experience of being in love and having someone accept you and help you love yourself touched me so deeply. I’m in this really vulnerable place right now, where I don’t believe anyone could love me the way Vance Joy describes in this song (which I absolutely wonderful, and I hadn’t heard the song before). Reading that the possibility of such a love could exist made me feel both hopeful and very sad – in short, your post really moved me, and I thank you for that. Moving emotion is a good thing. I’m so happy for you. You deserve what you have worked so hard to cultivate in your life.

    • I’m sorry my post hurt you, but I hope it gives you hope that you deserve love. You deserve it and you will find it. I promise you.

      For what it’s worth, though, I took a long time out from dating to heal myself first. The difference between my previous, unhealthy relationship and this very healthy, happy one is ME. I know I deserve more.

      • I definitely found it to be a hopeful experience, and I’m glad your post evoked that pain.
        I hear you, I haven’t dated in a year, and I can’t imagine dating in the next year, maybe even two.

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