You want to know something important about people?
They lie. They lie a lot. Lying is the second thing
you learn, even before you learn to speak:
you can lie with your hands, your voice, your eyes, your body,
anything at all, which is important, it’s a survival strategy,
but my parents never told me that, all they told me was
that I should tell the truth, and I try but I can’t always
because I am human, and humans lie. I tell two lies
almost every day: No, I didn’t know that, and Yes,
I’m fine, when really I knew that all along, and no,
I’m not fine – but thanks for asking.

Humans also believe. They believe a lot. This is why
I can believe things that don’t really make any sense,
things like But I need you! or You’re the most important
person in my life! or You look great in those pants! I believe
those things because I need to, even though there is
doubt in my heart and it gets stronger and thicker
every day and I have to try hard to keep it from cracking
my sternum in two, like concrete.

One night I had to share a bed with my friend, and since
it was a twin bed – and neither of us are exactly small people –
we had to squish, and right before I turned out the light I
turned to him and said Is it okay if I put my head on your chest,
and he said Of course it is, and I just looked at him because
in my mind my head is something no human being
would ever want anywhere near their heart, and I said Are you sure,
and he said I don’t tell the truth about a lot of things
but I’m telling the truth about this.

When I was thirteen I sat in the back seat of my mother’s
minivan and told her about this boy I had a crush on, I told her that
I loved him, and she said You’re thirteen, you don’t know
anything about love, and I wish I could tell her she was
wrong, that I knew everything about love when I was thirteen
that I do at twenty-one. I think that if the world could love
like thirteen-year-olds we’d all be better off. We’d worry less
about truth and lies and more about jasmine and poetry
and the way someone’s face feels pushed into your hair,
the feeling of your arm on their chest, the hollowness of their
bones under your skin, and that’s what my survival is,
that liminal space, that darkness beyond truth and beyond
words, that’s the first thing you learn, even before you learn
how to lie. The first thing you learn is love.