dangerous love

words by allyssa + photos by vallejo


She thinks about everything left unsaid, and how language does not only happen in the realm of words.

She wanted to meet someone who could speak those wordless languages.

She knew she would.

She knew she would meet someone with whom she might identify and share something beautiful, something meaningful, something extraordinary — perhaps even something lasting — but she hadn’t done it yet.

She hadn’t been ready.

She wanted to know her self, first.

She had striking eyes. They were a deep, deep, dark brown; some shade between the roots of a tree and the soil it was planted in. Unless they were illuminated by the sun, they looked black.

You’d be sucked in were you not careful.

She wore sunglasses a lot for this reason. Even at night, even though others thought it ostentatious.

After years of questioning her self, you see, she finally learned to be able to have fun with her self, for her self. It was really more to protect others, anyway — the sunglasses. People would fall into her eyes too easily sometimes, and she wanted to know they could swim before the dive. She couldn’t be responsible for any more drownings.

She was preparing for those who would come sailing sturdy ships they’d built for themselves.

She grew up learning to fear her self and her own potential, so she spent years avoiding her life, and became perpetually engrossed in someone else’s — attached to their ideas of how the future might look.

One such man who left her with a wounded heart once told her he wished she was small enough to fit in his back pocket. She thought it was cute at the time. It’s cute to be little, right? That’s what she’d been told. But she never was little, that was the thing. She had trouble accepting this for the longest time.

She was a woman with presence.

And she was a woman long before she was a girl.

She felt strange having to identify as anything. A person could not be summed up so easily, the way people try to sum up a being. She confused her identities and the core of her self sometimes — as most humans do — but as she grew older, she learned the distinctions between the two, and the importance of their inter-play.

But she wondered often how many people were living from behind the identities they’d constructed.

If you asked her, she would say she was pure spirit long before she was a woman.

No job description suited her. She lived on an inner plane where she knew — for some unknown reason — that the work she had to do was important.

To others, her inclinations would sound funny.

If she could have it her way, she would teach people the art of identity deconstruction, and she would hire people who could help create space for students to work through the emotional and psychological fall-out after becoming self-aware; people who knew how to safely navigate the integration of this flood of new information.

She knew most people wouldn’t know what she meant by this, but she hoped they would learn. She knew it could take centuries for certain ideas to gain traction, though. But she stubbornly thought people needed to be educated in what it is to have a self.

No one was teaching those classes anymore.

People started to think classes only happened within the walls of places called “schools”. She thought this was an unfortunate fluke in the unfolding of human history. She always saw the entire world as her classroom.

Her imagination was rich and expansive, but her mind could be so clouded with meaninglessness. Everything floating around the airwaves, everything within her line of sight. The billboards, the advertisements, the magazines and radio and television shows, and the way people would talk about them incessantly — it all got to her. She was like a sponge, picking up on all of it, even if she didn’t want to. She had trouble imagining the future for this reason. Too many others had imagined false futures for her, and tried to impose them upon her day in and day out.

She felt the continuous presence of the corners and confines of her culture, in a way that other people didn’t seem to feel. But she thought that was a result of them being trained out of feeling.

Or, perhaps they were just tired from feeling too much.

She couldn’t be inside most buildings for too long without longing for the gentle softness of nature. A flower in a dark room, she would ache for the sun and the wind.

To cope with the concrete world, she spent most of her days studying people, places, ideas.

She would fall into the books lining the corridors of a library; fall in love with the sweetness of lovers parting at public transit centres; speak with random strangers in coffee shops about philosophy, time travel, and the fleeting nature of all life. She would play make-believe with children on playgrounds, and climb trees in other people’s front yards. She would ask dancers at strip clubs about their dreams for their country, and she would cry entering into holy spaces to listen to the choirs and chanting and prayers of people from all different faiths.

Bars were the most interesting place for her as of late. While she felt a little strange admitting it, she enjoyed being found by whoever needed to find her there. A lot of lost people would end up in bars — even more so than in churches — and she liked giving directions when she had a good sense for the roads they were seeking.

Men began hitting on her at a young age. Not because she was particularly physically attractive then, but because even at 13, they would sense the woman in her; a woman who would listen and be gentle with them the way they needed.

They would never come to admit this, of course. They would put their prayers in a bottle and drink them down. She felt that all these unshared prayers became a kind of poison, and she would invite people to speak these words instead of swallowing them.

She knew — more than most — that words could be harmful or fatal if swallowed.

She would compromise her self and give in to the attention she received in unhealthy ways sometimes, especially when she was feeling lonely. But these encounters would almost always leave her feeling even more lonely. So she learned self-control as a form of self-preservation, and she came to deeply enjoy the process of getting to really know another person’s self, insofar as they would let their self be revealed.

In her early 20s, she came to be a great lover, but she learned to limit her affections to those who appreciated The Great Beyond within her. They were few and far between.

Too many men would ask such boring questions.

“How could such a sexy girl like you be sitting alone at the bar?”

“Maybe I’ll tell you, if you tell me about the inner-workings of your soul.”

Most of them would back up in fear. This both amused and saddened her.

She was still waiting for the one who would answer her courageously and truthfully. She was beginning to question whether he existed, but she knew better than to lose faith in the field of endless possibilities.

She did not know quite why it’d be a He. She had an inkling that the point of understanding the dualities of human existence was to transcend them, or at least to make an honest attempt.

She never decided on a sexuality, as she felt it was silly to have such rigid ideas about one’s self. She certainly knew it could change day-to-day. But she felt so attuned to the idea of She — living in this female body — she came to adore the idea of He. Perhaps she wanted a counterpart to understand, to learn from. She was always interested in the truth of other people’s experiences.

She would say she lived in a multi-verse of truths.

She did not understand the concept of boredom for this reason.

Despite her ability to appreciate every being, she loved the sacredness of the two-spirited-twirl, and the third entity created in the swirling of the two. It could be a child, a home, an idea, a quest, a community, a new karmic pathway that would continue on for lifetimes —  but always, something was created in the swirling.

She was curious if and when and how this would happen for her, but she’d grown patient.

She sometimes felt jaded by a past full of hurt and harm, but any onlooker would see her unshakable innocence. Some would mistake it for naïvety.

The world she was born into was designed to have limitations, yet she had been born with an unlimited supply of love; love which was not meant to be bound.

She would try to give it to people — Her Love.

Sometimes they would take it.

Sometimes they would want so much, they would rip her to shreds for it.

Sometimes they would become angry, and reject her gift — as if to say, why would you even think me worthy?

And she thought, gifts are not meant to be thrown away or torn up, but accepted graciously.

People didn’t know how to do this anymore, so it seemed. Even gift-giving had become a trading of commodities, rather than a heart-to-heart exchange.

She grew up poor. It was not that her family had no money, but her parents were constantly living in fear of not having this thing everyone needed, called “money”, and so she inherited the same fears.

Her family struggled, and while they would always get by, her mother instilled in her the constant terror of being thrown out on the street, out of their home. For this reason, and others, she did her best to find home in all places. She was perpetually homeless, and always at home. She really, ultimately, knew she had to find home within her self.

The holidays would roll around, and she was around the age of 11 when she first told her mother to “stop buying useless shit.” A smack across the mouth shut her up about it for a few years, until she was 16 and spent Christmas Day locked in her bedroom in tears, wishing she no longer had to endure sitting through the enforced family time by the fireplace. It would only happen once per year, anyway.

She didn’t even remember the last time she’d shared a meal with them. She was the middle child in a family of seven; always lost in the middle of conflict, and drowned out by the voices of people who “knew better” than her.

The peacemaker in a working class warzone.

She wasn’t so sure they actually knew better.

Their most prominent family ritual would be heating up frozen dinners and going their separate ways; sitting in front of the television and being programmed by commercials, and “beautiful, lucky” people, and “news”.

She hated the “news”. There never seemed to be anything new about it. She wondered why people didn’t spend as much time dreaming up new worlds as they did talking about all the apparent miseries of the current one.

She could feel the collective suffering, even in her dreams. She knew that the suffering of those in her immediate vicinity was always a microcosm of the whole. Every night she’d drift off to sleep, she would want to wake up to a world that wasn’t so sad.

She knew some wishes could take eons to come to fruition.

After a series of unfortunate events — called “relationships” — she knew she would feel the pull of partnership again. She didn’t want to admit it, but dreaming and being dreamy was just different when shared with someone else. Not necessarily better or worse, but different in a way she enjoyed. She was a romantic, after all. She loved the idea of being a being in love, with some other being, and she would be lying if she said she didn’t crave it the way most humans do.

But, she also saw the ways in which she might make everyone a lover, because she knew that giving and receiving love was never intended to be exclusively about sex. In fact, she’d had some sexual partners who were never, ever lovers.

Some strangers were better lovers than some of those she’d been to bed with.

She thought often about the idea of possession within relationships. Sometimes, she thought it was beautiful to feel she belonged completely to the present moment, and to the person whose company she was in.

Sometimes, she felt she belonged to the entire world.

When she was out beneath the stars, singing to them alone, she felt that. When her eyes and smile met those of a child she’d never met before, she felt that. When she was walking with thousands of strangers at marches and rallies, she felt that. There was nothing quite like the electricity of that many heartbeats in the streets.

She found it to be inconsiderate and overwhelming when she was the only object of a person’s affections (i.e. the only receiver of their love). Because she knew she had so much to give, she wanted to meet someone who also lived from that infinite resource.

She catalyzed a break-up earlier in the year. This had happened before, and it was always unintentional. She only asked her friend questions about things like personal evolution and future aspirations, and this friend suddenly realized how incompatible she was with her then partner.

She was walking one day — wandering around wistfully and without direction, rather — after being shut out of another family argument because she wouldn’t play along with their drama.

(She couldn’t stand the way they spoke to one another. And they’d use the word “love” sometimes, but she wasn’t so sure they meant it.)

In her wanderings, she came across a wall, on which someone had written — in remarkably neat lettering:

where is the one who knows

or cares to know

how the world

really works?

who wishes to help


every fucking ism?

door to door

word by word

conversation by conversation

canvassing for truth

and beauty

and love

in the face of madness

here, take my number

so u can call me

and let’s go be dangerous together

She could make out a 7, a 1, and a 2.

The rest of the number had been obscured with black paint.

Perhaps they’d found each other. She hoped so.

That’s the kind of love I want, she said to her self.

A dangerous kind of love.

Published by Allyssa Milán

♥ 𝚖𝚘𝚘𝚗 𝚖𝚊𝚒𝚍𝚎𝚗 + 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚞𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚐𝚞𝚒𝚍𝚎 ♥ 𝚙𝚘𝚎𝚝 / 𝚠𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚎𝚛 / 𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚒𝚜𝚝 / 𝚖𝚞𝚜𝚎 ♥ 𝚋𝚊𝚜𝚎𝚍 𝚒𝚗 𝚋𝚛𝚘𝚘𝚔𝚕𝚢𝚗, 𝚗𝚢

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