1. Two of my closest friends moved away in December.
    Their names are Tucker and Emily. They're a married couple.
  2. Their friendship and love was (is) incredible. I felt so alone when I moved here, a feeing amplified by the irony of living a half-mile from my family (after 6 years of living 1000 miles away) and feeling so utterly distant from them.
  3. And after a really hard 6 months, I met them. And I felt like had some people. It was a jolt of intimacy that allowed me to wake up to a lot in my life.
  4. So it's been hard, having them gone. It's highlighted my struggle with human connection - with notions of acceptance and rejection and self-worth.
  5. Last week, Tucker emailed. And his email contained the most beautiful sentence:
  6. "Let me say, I love you."
  7. I've turned those first three words over and over in my mind. Like my head is a rock polisher and I've been tumbling those words around, until they are smooth and glossy.
  8. The message of love meant so much, of course.
  9. But those first three words...damn.
  10. They totally disarmed me.
  11. They're the trumpeters, announcing love's entry.
  12. They say, "Hey, guess what: me telling you I love you is because I want to say it...
  13. ...and I'll ask you to let me say it, but the love itself doesn't hinge on your permission.
  14. It's not conditional to you deeming yourself worthy or believing me.
  15. Just let me say it."
  16. And damn if hearing it and accepting it as someone else's truth doesn't feel like a huge step toward having it be my own.