to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
I made me. You’ll find no borrowed bricks in me. And even if the world knocks parts of me over, it’s me who decides how I’m put back together. I made me. Every single day, I make me.
This is for you.
If you’re one of the thousands of people in love with somebody who doesn’t love them back in all the right ways.
This is for you, who forgot how to walk the first time you saw them.
This is for you, the one spending Saturday night waiting for their call.
This is for you, as you agonize over every text and phone call and smile.
Against all your better judgment, you’ve begged and pleaded for them to love you back.
You’ve said out loud, ”I don’t know why they won’t admit they love me. They do the things that people who are in love do, but then they…don’t follow through.”
You analyze every breath, digging for deeper meaning and insight into their issues, “Well if they could only admit they have daddy issues…”
I know. You’re waiting. Because one day they’ll realize what a fucking gem you are and what an idiot they’ve been.
I know you.
I was you. You are me.
No, don’t argue. Listen.
(I am you and you are me) Remember.
This person, this defining morsel of your humanity, this breath-stopping, soul-shaking person, is not anymore of a god or goddess than you are.
You are a soul worth stopping the spin of the universe for; worthy of sentences that fall apart before they begin; worthy of tripping over misplaced sidewalk bricks.
I see you, shaking your head.
Stop that. Listen.
In this moment, you feel unlovable. Because if they won’t love you, how could anyone ever? You are the sludge and the slime and the primordial ooze. Uncultured, broken, aching for love.
Maybe you are. MAYBE YOU ARE.
Because maybe you’re right. You can’t be loved.
You heard me: you can’t be loved.
You cannot give and receive any kind of love that doesn’t already exist within you and for you already.
What I mean is:
If you do not love your hair because it’s a miracle from your scalp - red or frizzy or golden or brown or curly or straight or hardly any at all
If you do not love your zits or your red cheeks or the dimples of your thighs
If you do not love that when you laugh, it is loud, and people turn their heads to give it notice
If you do not love that you are the shortest or tallest or skinniest or fattest or smartest or dumbest or the worst at checkers and the best at singing and an absolutely boring party guest who just brings the worst snacks
If you do not love the way that you love cheesecake so much it turns you into a monster who would totally steal it from a baby if they had the chance
If you do not love who are you all alone, in the dark, no phones or music or TV or people to distract you from your demons
If you do not love
that you cry at all the commercials
that you just h.a.t.e. that one person that everyone else just adores
that your back is curvy and you have flat feet and you never had braces so your teeth make you feel like a pirate sometimes —
If you can’t LOVE YOU, why should anybody else? If you can’t stand you, why torture another human with your unbearable flaws?
You cannot be loved until it comes from within you. Then and only then, are you 10 thousand feet tall and ready for adulation and love and gifts to be heaped upon you.
Only then you will love the people who haven’t learned to love themselves yet - only then will you be the greatest gift of the world - only then will people stop, midsentence, to say, “That’s sooooome girl/boy/person, eh? Even when they’re annoying I just, I love them. Who wouldn’t.”
But let’s get back to that person - the soul-shaker - the one that won’t love you the way you want them to.
I am you and you are me and —
You can’t win this war. Don’t argue with me. You can’t make somebody love you (there are entire 80s ballads to back this up), but you can love yourself. And it’s the only love that matters.
(You will rise from your sludge and do great things. But first, you even have to love the sludge.)