Toxic masculinity says, everything that’s wrong with you comes down to the way you don’t control your emotions.

Toxic femininity says, everything that’s wrong with me comes down to the way I don’t control my body.

I hope I will find someone someday who loves me for the ways I love my body. Who will love me even when I eat or do not pluck my eyebrows or do not shave my legs or do not wear eyeliner or do yoga rather than go to the gym.

I loved him when he cried or laughed or was himself. I was not afraid of how much he could feel.

I don’t mind, deep down, if he does not love me. Only, I hope he finds someone who loves him the way I do. Except without my callousness or occasional bout of deep twisting cruelty. Without my resentments or petty tyranny over my own emotions and truths. Me, but a winner. Who won against her demons. Who won the battles that had to be won.

I do not hope to be loved. That seems a step too far.

But I hope that he is loved. Wherever he is. Really loved. Not appreciated for his resume or his social skills or his power, the things he’s built up so he will be wanted. By the people we have all been taught are the only people who matter. The people who are Somebodys. The rich white kids who taught us we were nothing and tormented us on the playground. Somehow they have come to take up the whole world. The whole universe of what is possible in another human.

I never loved them. I was only pretending. So they wouldn’t hurt me.

Please forgive me, world. Please forgive me, love.

I was only trying to survive. But surviving was not worth the loss of what made me lovable in my own eyes. Of the dignity and humane core that made me capable of loving somebody.

Please. Before the end of everything, and even though I don’t deserve it.

Forgive me.

Writes all the things. Photographs the light. Smiles at odd moments. Reads in the shower. Sings to the trees. Hopes a lot.

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