And one day I’d like another sky.


In the 26 years, 1 month, and 7 days that I’ve been alive, the universe has afforded me one Tinder date. Just one. And that’s probably due to the amount of mental energy it takes to give yourself the sort of pep talk before a first date that looks like this: “Okay, he has sent me a selfie. I’ve heard his voice. There is a person who exists beyond the screen. I will not be Catfished. I will not be murdered. We will meet in a public place. And we can just lie to people and say we met in Aisle 7 if this all works out. Okay… we’re doing this. We’re really doing this.”

Alas, after that one date, the Gods of Tinder never showed their faces to me again. And I’ve retired from the game. And then un-retired. And then re-retired again.

As a sidenote to those who don’t know the mystery that is Tinder, it’s a dating application. It’s like Pandora for people— you get to swipe through a collection of faces and accept the people you are attracted to and decline the ones who don’t suit your fancy. And if you and the other person are in agreement with swiping “YES,” you’re brought into an exclusive conversation. Your own little chatroom. The world is your oyster after that, baby. 

So this all sounds really shallow when I type it out. I’m seeing that now. And while I used to think it was an ankle-deep app for people who only want to hook up at 3a.m. and need a mile radius to know how feasible the chances of that happening really is, it seems to have shifted into a more legitimate avenue to meet people. A lot of my friends are going on Tinder dates. We’ve had girls’ nights where Tinder stories seem to steer the conversation. Someone in my office is actually engaged because of the glorious power of swiping right (and she’s too awesome to sum up into words already and now she has a pretty awesome love story, all thanks to Tinder). 

And this is all really a bunch of breaking-the-ice word vomit just so I can reach a point where I am comfortable enough to just say it: I’m single. Yup. That’s me. I’m solo. I eat alone. And I’ve wondered why it’s so hard to talk about that. I wonder why I’m met with glares and uneven faces when the word “Tinder” gets said in a group.  I wonder why I often feel lame, as if admitting defeat, when I tell someone I am single— as if I am genuinely sorry to announce that I haven’t met someone yet. And I’m trying to be okay with admitting that I sometimes feel like I’m floundering in a culture that seems to associate “singleness” with missing pieces. 

I want to seem like a cool single girl.

If there is even such a thing, if people even find themselves saying things like, “She’s a cool single girl,” then I want to be that. 

And that’s just because I spent a long time doing this whole “single” thing wrong. Trust me, I used to have my days of acting like the President of the Single Girl Gauntlet. I’ve whined with the bunches of them. I’ve asked the same questions: Do guys even call anymore? Is chivalry dead? What happened to running into someone in an airport? Do I really have to go online? 

The questions— they got me nowhere. The whining— it got me ten steps in the opposite direction of the person I knew I was capable of being. I was just choosing daily to stay mad at a world that made me feel like I was missing pieces when I was the one saying it the loudest, “You are missing pieces. You aren’t enough.” 

The problem wasn’t guys. The problem wasn’t the digital age. The problem wasn’t the rose ceremonies being denied to me. It was me. I was the problem. I was the one hunting down completion through another person. I wanted someone to give me a world I could go only go out there and grab on my own. 

That seems to be the wicked spell I’ve seen get cast upon the ones of us who have fallen in love before: it becomes really hard to convince yourself that another person didn’t complete you.  You get comfortable with the phone calls. You get comfortable with the silly messages that only you get to read. You get comfortable with the passenger seat being full. And your hand being held. And your darker parts being known. And your thirst being quenched, even if only for a little while. And when it is gone— you think you need it all over again. And it’s easy to get bitter when you treat your want like a need. 

But what I really needed? I needed to see all the ways I was standing in my own way before I ever welcomed someone else into that equation, thinking they could solve it for me. 

The story of how I got to that exact point is for another day but I know I packed a full suitcase for the girl I used to be and I sent her off with a one-way ticket in her hand. But I can still imagine what it would be like to sit across the table from that girl I used to be— both of us pursing lattes, cradled by fingers baring too much chipped polish— and tell her what I know now: Time gets wasted when you’re not content. And you not seeing the blessings for this moment is a disservice to all the people who don’t get a free life like yours. And if you ever hope to convince someone else they are complete and whole and good as they are— if a shred of you has ever wanted to tell someone that— then you should really stop acting like you’re the puzzle with too many pieces of the sky gone missing. You should stop thinking anyone but yourself can change that insecure part of you. A guy won’t change it. A Tinder swipe won’t cure the wound. You looking for something to plug the hole won’t do it. Humans are just humans, they aren’t lifeboats. They aren’t bandaids. They aren’t completion. 

A mentor of mine who worked at my college met someone unexpectedly during the summer of my junior year and decided not to return to our small campus come the fall. She’d always been there everyday. And then she suddenly wasn’t.

She sent an email. She gave up her job. She deserved the world, really. I emailed her back and told her that.

She wrote back to tell me this: you’ll find that the most astounding love will meet you when you are complete. When you can stand before yourself— in a mirror, in the car, or wherever you do all that internal talking— and say, “I am okay alone. I am cool on my own. I am legitimate. They should write rap anthems about me. Or at least play “Ridin’ Solo” when I walk into a room. I’m single and that doesn’t mean I’m not complete.”

And she told me it would be an even better love when the person who chooses you is complete too. And sees your completeness. And you can both sit there with your hands in the spaces of one another and recognize: there is no completing this time around. There is adding on. There is complimenting one another. But there is no completing because you’re not any missing pieces. 

When I read those words of hers, it made me think back to a childhood packed full with Puzzle Nights. That was a thing (that’s why I capitalized it). A legitimate thing. And just to further complicate the lives of anyone who sat down at our kitchen table for the traditional night of puzzles and hot cocoa, my brothers and I would pour out the contents of two puzzles– similar in theme– onto the table. We were still babies with something to prove. Instead of 500 pieces, there’d suddenly be 1,000. And if you’ve ever tried to assemble two puzzles at once, you draw a lot of conclusions quickly: there’s a lot of sky. There’s a lot of clouds. There’s a lot of random inanimate objects that seem to stretch in to the abyss of infinity. 

But I think that’s what happens when you share a life with someone— you realize it’s two puzzles. No matter how “one” you become, there are still two puzzles scattered on the table. Two skies. Two sets of clouds. Two very different landscapes. 

If you’re single, I think it’s probably better to resolve and say: Okay, I have my own pieces right now. Only mine. And one day I’d like another sky. So I will do my best to figure out the pieces I am holding while there is still just one puzzle to solve. 

The post should have ended right with that last line.

It would have been really poetic and cool. But I can suspect several emails coming my way after I click publish on this piece, asking me the question I haven’t answered for you yet: 

How did that one Tinder date go? 

Well, in the history of dates I’ve gone on, it was a pretty good one. It scores pretty high. 

We met halfway in as small, unheard-of town at the only restaurant we could find in the hour of distance between us that didn’t look like KFC and the Olive Garden had a baby together. It was a small pizza joint. The conversation was good. We both admitted to being fearful that Nev from Catfish might show up for the date in the place of one another. He wore Vans. We drove around the other small towns that encased that one small town. We blasted “White Houses” by Vanessa Carlton. I used his glove compartment as a drum set.

He was moving away, and I was restless with my own location on a map, so we only had one date. But I was complete that night. And I like to think he was complete. And we asked for nothing more of one another than summer air and a conversation that left us saying, as we went in our separate directions: keep getting out there in the world and giving it everything you have. I don’t know you all that well but I have a hunch you’ll do just fine. 

Step One: You tell her.

j + r, these words are for you. i carry both of you in my heart.


“I have feelings for her,” he said. “They’re real.”

The smoke from the bonfire hissed and tangled with my hair as I watched him wring his hands in circular motion, as if his mama had just told him to wash them good. Soap. Water. No skimping. Germs, they be a killer.

The flames cackled. We sat face to face. The pockets of people around us all cloaked in heavy conversation. Laughter. Their voices buzzed and wheeling from the concoctions of vodka & rum & fruity summer cocktails.

“So what do I do?”

It occurs to me that this feeling doesn’t overwhelm him so often. That it is not every day when he lets the good girl in to take up cushion space in his heart. He’s nervous for the first time in a very long time. His steps have become more careful. His heart takes to guarding. His speech turns to stumbling. Ah, the seeds of someone who might just be madly in love by morning if only they’d let themselves go.

“You tell her,” I say back.


You tell her.

Not in a text. Not even on the phone. You tell her when, and only when, you can see the green in her pupils. The birthmark on her neck. You tell her when your palms are sweaty and your words don’t feel like they hold an ounce of eloquence. You tell her, even when the whole thing could collapse at any moment, on any one of your syllables. She might reject you. She might turn away. But you need to say it all the same.

You don’t go back.

To being just friends. To holding it inside. A smart girl will know that a friendship doesn’t work when one of the two is willing to give up worlds & go extra miles & endure sleepless nights for the other. That’s not friendship. That’s blaring, stupid love and it is completely & utterly worth it when two walk towards it with open hands. So even if she turns you down, you don’t sink back into “friendship.” You know those feelings ain’t packing bags. Ain’t hitchhiking to Nebraska. You tell her and risk the whole of it all.  & if it isn’t her, some good girl is gonna love you better. But if it isn’t her you cannot sink back into being “just friends.”

You hold her.

Her hand. The small of her back when Michael Buble is on and she’s dancing on the toes of your dress shoes in the middle of the living room. You get all wrapped in the scent of her hair. You hold that same hair back on those rare but wild nights when there’s too much tequila and banter by the bar side. You hold her. All the parts of her. The secrets she has saved for you. The dreams. The fears. The Gold & the Glue to a story that becomes glittered with Us & We. Never again just you & her.

You challenge her.

Everyday. With every step. You don’t supply the easy ways out. You guide her the best you can. But you understand, you understand well, that you cannot move her nor can you make her. You see your limits. You push her to find her own.

You stay.

When dishes break. When snot is on the sofa. When the honeymoon period ends. The finances grow frail. When Life gets unruly, as she always often does, you suck in, breathe deep, and you work it out. You man up & work it out.

You believe in her.

You make up your mind right here and right now to be her biggest fan. Her sidekick. Her cheerleader. You get on your strong snow boots and you help her shovel out the doubt like the icy kind of snow that always made havoc for the driveway. And when she decides to curl up & collapse on the floor, you head back to square one. You hold her. But eventually you make her get up & walk. You know just how strong she is.

You let her go.

If she needs it. If it is necessary. Imperfect, yes, but sometimes necessary. You let her go. If her mind is wandering & her shoes don’t fit. And she needs to head away from home & the lights she has always known. You support her in that. You recognize, straight from the formations of a Once Upon a Time that life isn’t perfect & people don’t always stay. But if she loves you, if her heart is sweet for you, then she will come back. She will find her way back to you.

You recognize.

That what you feel is very good. That we– the fleshy messes that we are– were made for these kinds of feelings. The Overwhelming. The Anxiety. The Goodness of Falling in Love. In Finding a Someone Who Soon Becomes Your Only One. You let the feelings own you for a little while, break you down to dust for a girl who weakens your knees in the very best way. You recognize, not everyone has this but most people want this. They might be lying if they tell you different. You recognize that it is good, very good. The Best Stuff in Life.

You be good to her.

That’s it. That’s all. If ever you need a starting point, a middle grounds, a point of punctuation, it. is. this: You be good to her. Always & always.

There will be no rose ceremony tonight.

Bouquet of Red Roses

I’m single.

Yes, single. And that’s probably the most miserable thing about my life that I can admit. Not because I am pining to meet you, that’s not it. You can take your time. Really. I am taking mine. But it’s miserable because being single has made me feel wrong to be waiting for you.

I’m the girl who people want to push into relationships. They want to set me up on countless dates. They want to survey me from every angle and determine what exactly is going wrong with this situation because I am pretty, and I am successful, and I should have no problem meeting someone already.

I get slotted into a pile of girls who are waiting on their rose ceremonies. They are already wondering if he will open every door and call instead of text. And I don’t care about any of that. Really. Your face at my door will be enough after all of this.

I’ve had to back out carefully from these boxes of what people think it means to be “single and somehow waiting” because they will suffocate me and I won’t remember how to want you any longer.



I’m caught in a world that tells me never to settle and then double backs to tell me that I shouldn’t have too high of expectations. That people are imperfect. And fairy tales aren’t reality. I know that. I have been perfectly in love with people who never gave me a fairy tale but I would still be coming back to the blue in their eyes if they gave me the option to stay.

Darling, I’m not looking for no Cinderella story. Jeepers, I will go barefoot if you wanna roll that way. I’m not looking for you to call me instead of text me. I am not going to chastise for you for improper grammar (though words spelt out fully in text messages are SO much sexier). I haven’t married you in my mind already (don’t worry) simply because I don’t even know if you like peanut butter and I think I have to know that first. And let’s just be honest, I would be content with a pixie stick and a ring made out of a straw wrapper if it meant we could focus on faithfulness instead of fluff.

I want to eat breakfast at my wedding. I want to laugh from my belly. I want to celebrate the people who brought you to me at long last. I could care less about how we decorate the room. Let’s just throw toilet paper up into the rafters. A pair of Nikes instead of heels would fit me just fine. I just want to be with you forever. And maybe dance that entire night. And I just want to never stand at a crossroads that makes us both wonder if someone already walked away without telling the other person honestly.


I’ve been stuck in the middle of unfaithful things before and it is truly the most sunken feeling in the world. To learn your own body is a wrecking ball and that your worth can rest in the hands of someone who never valued what it took for you to build into the person standing before them that day. It’s like two bodies clinging to each other, hoping they can keep one another from walking out the door but unable to open their eyes to see that Trust broke all the windows, and kicked down all the doors, when she broke loose and left them.

Once Trust walks away, and secrets build up in her absence, you’re rarely getting back to a place where Commitment is the centerpiece on a table first set by Love.

That’s my worry. Beyond where I will meet you or how you will think to hold my hand, my worry comes from living in a world where infidelity is a light and laughable thing. Where people call into the radio to debate on whether they should have sex with strangers when their husband won’t touch them any longer. And cheating is expected if your spouse turns out to be boring or bitchy or imperfect in a way that doesn’t serve you.

My worry comes from living in a world where “goodbye” is rarely ever meant because technology has made it easier for us to hold on to old flames just a little longer. And we make movies out of unresolved love stories that leave other girls and guys standing like fools at the altars, left not chosen because their partner’s heart never found the endurance it would take to let an old love die. And so they stopped being honest. And they let it get too far. My worry comes from knowing we still get weak in the knees and we wonder “what if” because it excites us and it gives us adventure. But it breaks our hearts all over again. All at the same time.



I’m not asking for a fairy tale.

Not the pumpkin. Not the dress. But I expect that both of us are going to show up to this thing like gladiators. With shields. And swords. And cool armor. And all the things it would take to fight for one another, over & over & over again.  You, my dear, are already my favorite thing to fight for. Did you know that? I don’t even need to know the color of your eyes or the quirk in your laugh to know I’m going to fight for you like crazy.

And every single day I grow stronger as a woman, and a leader, and future Someone to you someday but everyday until then I am reminded of just how fragile you already are to me. Just because the human heart is resilient and pumped full with fighter’s blood doesn’t mean it was stitched to handle the tumble dry setting of someone who stumbles over when it means to be faithful. I don’t want to put you through that. I can’t bear to put you through that.

I can’t bear to see your back sunken over and tears running down your face on the day I betray you with flesh. And so I’d rather wait here, not giving trial runs and free subscriptions to my heart out up until the day you come around. I’d rather stay here and learn the crooks and corners of this heart of mine for myself before I ever think you could attempt to understand it too. I don’t need to know your every footstep. I don’t care all the places you’ve been. I just want a loyalty that this world won’t give us.

That’s worth waiting for. It’s worth sacrificing everything for it.

I might be the ogre of singledom. I might be the girl who owns the #foreveralone hash tag and gets it screen printed on tees to sell in the heart of New York City. I might never get the rose from another guy for as long as it takes for you to get here. I. Don’t. Care. Because if and when I find you, that is it.

You get all my human affections. You get all of me. A deal is a deal is a deal. I’m yours.

And cardboard cut-outs melt in the rain.


We’ll stop purposely leaving high heels on subways with our name & number tucked into the bottom, stitched in our best cursive, hoping that someone will find us in a fairy tale fashion.

We’ll stop nodding our heads in agreement over conversations caked with heavy laughter and future plans when we hear our girlfriends say with confidence, “They aren’t out there.”

We’ll refuse to be another lamp switched off in a town already grown too dark. We’ll wrap our hair in buns, wrap our hands around warm mugs, and wrap our prayers around a God who simply wants to whisper, “They are out there.”


The good guys.

A rarity, so we’ve been told. Sitting alongside fossils in the “Museum of Things We’re on the Brink of Losing for Good.” Pinned somewhere between the ones who don’t know how to value what they have in their arms and the ones who balance several tiny waists at one time.

The good guys. They are noble. Honest. True. They don’t lust over our legs before looking into our eyes and seeing Hints of Hazel and Gold say, “We are looking for so much more. We came here looking for so much more.”

They are out there. And they get it: There are Things to Chase in this Lifetime.

The Affection of a Good Girl. The Heart and Trust of a Mama that used to sew that Girl’s dresses. The Approval of a Daddy that once lifted that Girl up to the ceiling, up to the solar system.

They are kind. Loyal. They wring passion from the dreams that once hung on their Little Boy walls. They harness morals and values, roping them into their dreams for a family that still believes in dinners at 6pm and king-sized beds with two tousled heads of hair and five huddled bodies when the lightning and thunder roll through.

They are out there and they far outstretch the expectations we’ve pent up for them in beauty magazines and chic-lit rule books: Hold the door open. Bring her flowers. Tell her she is beautiful even with no makeup on. Never, never, NEVER tell her she looks fat in that.  They take our chivalrous boxes and break right out. They transform the term Gentleman as if they’ve been asked to recreate the Classic Mona Lisa Smile.

They are the ones who ask about the longer days or know when not to bring it up; they treat us as we are: beautiful girls who only want one set of eyes upon us. One stubbled cheek to kiss. One pair of arms to fold us in when Tragedy comes to Huff & Puff & Blow our Hearts Down. Beautiful girls unafraid to say that if there be lipstick on his collar, we want it to be ours. Only, only the burlesque shades of a woman that adores that man too deeply to declare it with silly, stuffy, dictionary vocabulary.

They are out there and they’ll say it straight to us, “I’m far from perfect. I’ve got this going on, and this happened last month. I am dealing with this… and that stemmed from this.” Because we were never looking for perfect. And cardboard cut-outs melt in the rain. But they’ll wrap us up in blankets, our legs slung over their lap, and they’ll tell us they need a partner, a halfway, a commitment. A Thick & Thin Kind of Deal.

They are out there. Growing the bones of one-day fathers, harvesting the strength it takes to be a provider, learning what it means to Hold a Girl’s Hand Down an Earthly Wedding Aisle and far Into an “Earth”less Forever that we only close our eyes to imagine on days when the Metro runs late. They are out there, coming to their knees for a Maker who still craves to do so much more than a good work in them. A stunning work. An unspeakable, sacred work in his Good, Good Men.  Making them ready for the day when paths take to crossing and life takes to shifting us from the things we learned of fairytale love when we first cracked open books that taught us how to lose shoes and find princes.

For the win: I want to love your face off.

To my one day, some day husband–

We are bound to look absolutely homeless for that first glorious year of marriage. In the skinny of February and the bulk of April, we’ll parade proudly in half-ironed clothing in search of sushi palaces on the days when frying pans just won’t do. And we’ll learn the art of waking up to one another. And morning sounds. And food that spreads beyond pancakes and grilled cheeses (because yes, that is all I can offer you right now).

And we’ll learn & relearn & rerelearn what it means to love one another unconditionally, even when we break each other.

I come with that promise:

that I will never try to, nor will I mean to, but I promise that I will break you at some point. Without planning. Without intention. Because that is what human beings do. As solidly as we eat & pray & worry & swallow, we break each other with things we don’t mean to do. It comes with flesh. It comes with humanness. We hurt feelings. We get real snarky. We find just how the guts seep out when we tell the whole truth to the someone who holds us for all the fragile we are beneath thicker skin.

But back to us… and that glorious stage of homeless chic.

Post me saying I will never get out of my wedding dress. Post you telling me that I am going to get cluttered in the Crazy Pile for traipsing around town in white & lace & cowboy boots. Post me yelling, I DON’T CARE. Post you telling me that you refuse to have our very first “married” fight over whether I will or will not turn my wedding dress into a school uniform.

All to say this: I’ve never been so good at ironing.

My clothes tend to clump instead of fold. I live in a world where Tide To Go pens are as essential as ice scrapers in the grey of a New England Winter. And not a single one of these things–the ironing, the folding, the bleaching or lack of it— will make me any ounce better for you. Not so much, not even close, to the ways in which I am training my heart to devour you whole when you come.

Plain truth. Square point. For the win: I want to love your face off.

I want to love you so hard that your eyes & your nose & your mouth wonder what it will be like when they fall on the floor and break from exhaustion. I want no boundaries when it comes to loving you. I want your choices from me for the morning to be a) a lot of love b) a ton of love c) so much love you barely stinking stand it d) all of the above. I promise to stick to those options– even on the days when my pants don’t fit right & I am feeling quite like Lindsay Lohan when she stands in McDonald’s lines and harasses the workers with the big yellow arches on their visors.

And I expect the same out of you.

Yes, I come with expectations.

That you will honor me. That you will cherish me. That you will understand my worth. That you will challenge me. That you won’t treat me as the lesser of you. Because it has taken me a slew of Longer Years to learn all this for myself– that I am worthy , that I am cherished, that I am not the lesser of anyone– and I am never getting back together with the parts of me who once thought I didn’t deserve these things. Never, ever, ever.

& as long as you love me, we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke. As long as you love me, I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your gold (actually… Justin Bieber wrote that line but I got his permission to borrow it for the sake of this letter… If you play that chorus backwards it actually translates as Dear Hannah’s Husband, you got a good one. A great one.)

I’ve put away the map.

I’ve stopped charting the destinations where you & I might meet. I don’t stalk the coffee shops. I don’t pray for your lattes. & every day without you is another day to practice. Practice & practice & practice. So that when you meet me your heart will speak the truth, “She is a good human being.  She honors people. She values life. She is the companion you’ve looked for all this while.” 

Every day until you is another day to learn patience. Kindness. Goodness. Grace when I am feeling graceless. Compassion when I am feeling torn. Giving when I want to take & loving when I only ache. Because I think that is what you really need, what we all really need before finding the “good woman” or the “good man”: The exceptional human being. The partner to us. The better part on our worst days, the one who demands & deserves the brightness out of us on their weaker days. 

The one who understands that when they get you, they get all the parts of you.

And when you get me, you get all the parts of me:

The girl with the heart the size of Czechoslovakia before the tumultuous split.

The girl who has been purged of fairy tales & whim that was never real, knowing that her time with you won’t be easy, nor honeymoonish all the time, but it will be entirely worth it.

The girl who is a recovering, raging Marxist Feminist who once boycotted engagements in protest of blood diamonds. (We’ll chat that one over someday. I promise.)

The girl who can barely bake cookies, never mind a Thanksgiving feast, but she is willing to buy a cookbook if it means you’ll feel more full than yesterday.

The girl who is learning to love the snot out of this world so that when you come & find her she’ll be absolutely ready for a sweet face like yours.

Hi, my name is Guard Your Heart. Wanna date?

I’ve been the other girl before.

Yea, I know, it ain’t the kind of news you bring with you to Thanksgiving dinner:

“Hey Aunt K… everything is going great… oh, that noise? That’s just the phone beeping. I’ve got a text message… It’s from a guy… No, he isn’t my boyfriend… No, he actually has a girlfriend already… Yea…So…Righttt….Pass the butter? “

I’ve been the other girl before and I learned (quickly, might I add) how very un-endearing the whole mess of it is. To your friends. To your family. To your own self when you finally shut off the phone at night and curl up beside the fact that he isn’t yours… Really… He. Isn’t. Yours. And out there, somewhere, is a girl you’ve never met before but you’ve managed to wreck her heart without her even knowing it yet.

Cue the point in this post where I squirm and say that I am not a bit proud of this story but I feel it needs to be told.

No matter how you stared at the thing, it was a blaring train wreck. He lied. He cheated. I welcomed the lies. I welcomed the cheating. I thought, with almost every brain cell that was in attendance during those long rationalization sessions, that he would leave her. He would choose me. He would see that it was me who he actually wanted all along, come to his senses and find a way to break up with her. And this would simply be a rocky Chapter One of a book that would hold dozens & dozens of sentences where his name met mine.

It didn’t unravel that way. Quite the opposite.

He never chose me. He never looked back. He never offered explanation. To this day, I don’t know if the girl even knows my name.

The boy once said that he wanted to know me from start to finish.

He wanted to know all the crooks & curves of my childhood. He wondered how I was as a teenager. What kept me up at night. I, being the faithful, drooling tour guide that I was at the time, led him showroom by showroom into the depths of a heart that should have never been his for the examination.

I unlocked doors for him that I swore could never be opened.

I cleared out cluttered rooms.

I laid insecurities down like playing cards.

I let him know the parts of me that were made to be saved & savored by someone who didn’t view me as the Other Girl, rather as the Only Girl. My heart broke in the simple of the simple truths: he never guarded the secrets. He never buried the stories like pumpkins seeds in the soil of his own heart. He is still walking around, holding the hand of another, with all my deepest fears & greatest hopes rattling around inside of him. And they, the most treasured spots of me, have become pocket change.

That’s what hurt the most. Not the Rejection. Not the Goodbye. The fact that I treated my own heart like it was worthless, slung it like a slingshot over to his side of the fence.


my name is Guard Your Heart, the Most Overly Fluffed Life Lesson of the 21st Century.

Cue frumpy Christian women wearing pastel skirt suits & donning slower southern drawl.

That is what I heard, over & over & over again, anytime I tried to come to grips with the broken shards of me that clumped like puddles of table sugar at my feet wherever I was standing.  Guard your heart. You have to learn to guard your heart. And there, in the middle of my own conviction, I would move from foot to foot until the Cliche Police came to haul the whole “Guard Your Heart” rhetoric off in cliche-y handcuffs.

Guarding your heart (whatever the heck that means) might really mean nothing until you realize how it feels to leave your heart unguarded. & suddenly it hurts like hell. & you feel pretty cheap. & branded on the forehead with some blaring label that reads: LESS WORTHY OF LOVE.

Guarding your heart feels like nothing until you slip into the hands of Another that Never Deserved You. Until you are barren & broken before someone who cannot handle your junk, doesn’t want your issues, and is more than comfortable texting four different numbers and calling each one, “Baby.” Baby. Baby. Baby. Baby.

Guarding your heart is just a verse from the Proverbs your mama used to tell you until you get left. & he doesn’t come back. & you decide that this is what you deserve–the mess, the strangeness, the absence–you had it coming for you. Really, girl, you had it coming straight for you.

And guarding your heart is a fairy tale concept all smothered in pixie snot until you see for yourself that God even finds the messes you make to be beautiful. Grace makes sure of that. You’ll be stand in layers & layers of junk and He’ll reveal the gold & copper sitting all around you, waiting for love and just a smidge of polish.

Guarding your heart, it sounds like languages gone extinct from unuse until God speaks. Until Hesays something to blow your little face off:

I want you to know, need  you to know, that your heart is big & beautiful thing–far more precious than you will ever understand. Don’t even try to fathom the weight of it. Just know this– I cannot stand to see it thrown, tousled, trapped in the hands of a Someone who was never made to hold it.

Heed the whisper that I am planting in your spirit: Every. Bit. Of. You. Is. Precious. Cargo. Your heart, your dreams, your hurts, your pains– they never belonged buried in the hands of a Someone who doesn’t fully understand you. They never belonged buried in the hands of a Someone who doesn’t fully understand what it took to make you.