I say I Love You a lot. I have found that it’s almost expected of me, oddly enough. I’ll say it to one person and genuinely mean it in that moment and someone else will hear it and feel neglected, so I’ll say it to them as well justifying to myself that everyone deserves to feel loved. But something happens, a twinge of pain perhaps, when you hear those words and you feel that they are shallow, surfaced or otherwise not heartfelt. That can hurt as much as not hearing it at all.

I spent some time attempting to figure out what I wanted, what I need. Lots of people tell me every day that they love me, most mean it on some level that is not shallow yet I still feel a bit like I have a role and if I don’t live up to that role the “love” is gone. Conditional. What I came up with was I didn’t just want to be “loved”, I want to be seen. Not as in celebrity seen but the real me to be seen and loved for me, not what I have done or can do.

Not because I’m a strategist or well-read or whatever other nonsense is attributed to me and I attempt to live up to- though, those are my attributes, they are not “me”. I am more than the sum of those things. I am more than ambition, determination, intelligence, strategic, intuitive, trans, activist, survivor, woman…I am more than these things. I am a human and a flawed human at that. I fail big sometimes but I excel big too. I really do speak what’s on my mind and I regret not that I said it but how it can make others feel, but I will speak my truth, even if it changes to a new truth 10 minutes later.

I began doing something with people I interface with regularly, I began to say to them “I see you” in a very heartfelt way to let them know I meant it. No more I love you for me, I much rather be seen for me and to see others for them because when I do get to see others for them, I like it.

It still means I love you, don’t get me wrong, but for me its a distinguished I love you from the norm, it means I am looking deeper, and I still love you. I have found a flaw, and I still love you, in fact, I love you more for it. It means I trust you.

See me.

With Love
Ruth Utnage