What am I to you? It has been months since we began this dance. The longer we practice this routine, the easier it will become. The easier it becomes, the harder it will be to forget. The harder it is to forget, the easier it becomes to assume. And the easier it becomes to assume, the more dangerous it becomes to continue our dance. I don’t want to assume. So I am asking, in the best way I know how, through words spewing from my fingertips: What am I to you?
What am I to you? I ask because it’s 2019, where many want the precious art of exclusivity yet frequently practice painting pictures of “going with the flow,” and “keeping things casual.” I too know how to stroke portraits of casually riding the waves of going with the flow, but I only do so if my artwork will cultivate into something exclusive.
What am I to you? I have to ask because it’s 2019, where most say they hate indulging in the superficial pond of the dating game yet secretly enjoy getting drunk from playing the field, sipping on the thrill of the chase, and feasting on the temporary high every time a new candidate flashes a grin, wink, or something more.
What am I to you? I ask because, although I have an old school romantic spirit, I live in a new school keep-it-casual culture and need to discover your truest intentions before deploying my heart. Nowadays, most chase me because I possess something they call fun. I’m good at fun, but I’m much more. If you look closely, you will quickly realize that this fun-sized Ferrari is a rare commodity that cannot be duplicated.
What am I to you? I must ask because you have a tendency to string together a series of words that I do not like. Words that reduce my value to merely an option. I’m not sure if you do this to produce a reaction, free your insecurities, massage your ego, or to simply create an uncomfortable form of humor. You follow up those words with “it’s just a joke” or “you’re too sensitive.” Well, I’m young, naïve, and chill enough to find the joys of a joke. I’m also old, wise, and sensitive enough to see the truthfulness buried within them.
What am I to you? I have to ask because your decisiveness is manipulated by confusion. You manage to simultaneously make feel secure while also striking the chords of unsureness. You talk as if our future is a bright one unaffected by time and space while also reinforcing the temporality of our situation. You manage to make me feel like the one and only yet also just a name on a list.
You make me feel confused. I suspect that it’s because you’re confused too.
What am I to you? I need to ask because I’ve spent my hot boy summer fixated on you. For that fixation to occupy my fly boy fall, I’m going to need some assurance. Assurance that I’m more than just a 5’5 placeholder until the next flashier but lesser version of me arrives. Assurance that I am the calamari, steak, French fries, and broccoli with cheese that you routinely eat. Assurance that I am the Perrier, lime, and chilled glass that you can’t go without. Assurance that I am the sweet apple pie (with the crumbs) on a late Sunday night. Assurance that there isn’t a me, you, plus them. Assurance that you want me to be a staple in your cabinet, much like peanut butter is in mine.
Seriously though, what am I to you? This isn’t me being soft. This is me being real. This is a real question from a real person unafraid to confront real emotions in an attempt to feel something real. Please don’t mistake my astute emotional intelligence as an exercise in sensitivity. Nah bruh, it’s actually a lesson in vulnerability.
So tell me, what am I to you? Because I stand at a crossroad, prepared to venture down any of the paths in front of me. You should know I won’t stand here for long. Not because I can’t—I’m patient enough to continue this game for quite a while—but because I shouldn’t have to.
I’m worth more.
I shouldn’t feel like this thing is a competition. If it truly is, I will not compete, because I am worth more than the entire damn game.
I shouldn’t feel like nothing more than an option, because if I am, I’m worth more than options A-Z and all of their subparts.
I shouldn’t feel like just a name on a list of names, because if I am, I am worth more than the entire damn list. I am the list.
I shouldn’t feel like a confusing puzzle piece that you have yet to determine if you can or cannot do without, because if you haven’t realized by now that I’m a valuable copart, then you, sir, will never be ready for me.
So, I’ll conclude the same way I began—with a question, one that isn’t rhetorical or intended to simply live on the page for which it is written. What am I to you?