I am slowly realizing that the only love I know how to feel is the kind that gives

And gives

And gives

And gives

The kind of love that presses your partner against your chest as if your body was their lifeblood and all they needed to do was drink it

Drink you down until the glass that contains your wellspring is empty

Men take

Men feel the kind of love that grasps hungrily at soft flesh, the kind that is big and loud and takes up space

I am a man who has not yet learned how to take up space, so other men take up my space

They take

And take

And take

And take

And it feels nothing like love, it only feels like giving and giving until they have absorbed me completely

Someday I will learn how to be the person pressed against someone else, the person pulling at their hands, their hair, their hips, the person for whom they would give themselves completely

I will take

And I will give back

I will gladly let them have me, but not like this

Not in this helpless girl-shape, this tiny twisted folded-paper origami form

So easily crushed against the hard ridges of ribs barely concealed under warm skin

I must first learn to be big and loud, to take up space

I must learn this so that it means something when I choose not to