It's strange to me how much the word love is thrown around, and how different it's definition seems to vary from person to person. My mother tells me her love is unconditional, but her 'unconditional love' only applies to her conception of a perfect daughter. I found myself promising that I would only let those treasured words slip through the cracks when I meant it. When I felt it. Yet it has become a greeting I exchange more commonly than hello's. Kissing in the rain and chocolates and constant sweet nothings is the love I began to believe in, but it has not lasted. It has morphed from a feeling into a lifestyle, part of most everything I do. For if I don't act out of love, selfishness, hate, anger, might fill its place. Some forms more painful than others, unrequited, undying, have manifested within my brain, or my soul. The two are often confused, kissing in the rain does not equate to love, my soul tells me, but my head feeds into it either way. The brain is desperate for a form of love, holding onto whatever it can grasp because the fear of never finding another is too great of a risk for it to take. Loneliness, the ultimate opponent of the soul, and the push that sends the mind tumbling down. The purest form of love I have found is in the touch he places to my shaking arm as I struggle to understand it doesn't mean as much as I crave it to be. Standing in front of my mirror, conquering my denials, and he is always there, always touching. That is the love I have come to treasure most. The fertilizer to my seed of self love that has taken an achingly long time to sprout. I have also come to find that loving back, surprisingly enough, isn't in the kisses and sweet nothings. It is in accepting that your give wishes to be far more than theirs, and leveling with their take, despite everything. Unwavering hand always on their arm, through whatever turbulence that may come their way. What a shapeshifter you are, my love.