I have also slowly learned to be bolder with the word love. Like Flores, it began with friendships. The first time I said, “I love you” out loud was to my friend, Teresa. She’s a social worker and a lover of love. Since the beginning of our friendship, Teresa has always signed off with, ‘I love you’ whenever we speak on the telephone. I would reply with, ‘Uhuh’, or ‘Yeah, that’, and even with the infamous quote from the movie Ghost, ‘Ditto.’ However, the more I heard it from her, the more comfortable I became with accepting those words. I realized that since I had never heard “I love you” from my family, I didn’t feel I deserved to hear those words at all. If I didn’t deserve it, neither did anyone else in my life. Then, one day, I just blurted it out. Teresa and I said our goodbyes, and just like that, I said, “I love you!” I could feel her smiling at the other end of the line. My eyes grew as big as saucers, shocked at my sudden openness. It felt good.