Strength

We all have these stories—these moments in time that make us who we are. You, me, them, all of us fight battles every day; some of them threaten to destroy us. Others try to rewrite us; and still others seem to define us. There are moments in our past that we would like to change; if there isn’t, you haven’t lived enough—you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone, taken risks, made mistakes, made a fool out of yourself in front of a guy that you like.

We all have these demons that try to tear us down: society, family, friends, schoolmates, ourselves. It doesn’t matter. People tear others down to make themselves feel better. And sometimes, it’s not words that are used; looks or actions can be used—looks of disgust or hatred, pointing and jeering, laughing and whispering, or being ignored. Some people are good at brushing things off.

I am not one of those people.

Is there some confidence gene that I am lacking, or is it because I have been bullied most of my life? I honestly don’t know. Is there something wrong with me, or is there something wrong with society that doesn’t allow me to be comfortable in my own skin? I still don’t know.

All I know is that I am not alone; other people have these feelings, too.

And I wish I knew how to help these people. I wish I knew what to say to these people to make them like themselves. But, I don’t; because I can’t even love myself. Sure, there are days when I feel confident, beautiful, and strong. Then someone prettier walks by; someone who has confidence radiating from their soul; someone who is more liked than I, and I lose all confidence I had. There are days when I feel great, and it can be ruined with a look. Better yet, I can make myself look like a fool because I say or do something stupid to be noticed.

I’m tired of being ignored.

If I could go back and change my past, I would. I’d take away the bullying, the sexual assault, the nights of crying myself to sleep; the countless times I made my skin bleed would all be gone. And I’d be fine.

But I can’t; so, I have to make do with what I am, and what I’ve been through. It’s only made me stronger. I’ve grown and I’ve changed. And I still struggle with inner demons and inner battles to not hurt myself again. Every day I think of reasons why I should cut my skin again, and every day I have to think of reasons why I shouldn’t.

If you have these feelings, I’m sorry. I really am. Nothing I can say will take away the pain. But I promise you there’s hope. You are stronger than this. I believe in you.

There is something beautiful about being broken, and yet, somehow, finding the strength to stand tall. Being thrown down, wind knocked out of you over and over again, and refusing to accept that fate means you’re strong. Being strong means standing out in the storm, with the wind howling around you, threatening menacingly to knock you over, rain pouring down like a hurricane; there you stand, rain-boots and all, your dashed hopes and dreams stitched into your skin, rain-boots overflowing with the tears of the earth, collecting all this world has to offer. You know that rain washes away pain if you just let it. Strength is refusing to give up when the whole world is against you; strength is having the scars to prove it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Write From Your Heart

I wrote poetry on the walls of my heart before I knew how to turn my feelings into words. My heart is covered in layers of memories and words left unsaid; peeling them back one at a time reveals secret loves and dreams that have never seen the light of day. Childhood dreams wished on shooting stars, fallen eyelashes, pennies tossed into fountains, 11:11, Birthday candles and four leaf clovers are stored in the very essence of my being. Teenage love and angst is being stocked up even now to provide a layer of warmth for the winter.

When I learned what true ‘tear your heart out’ pain was, my heart refused to beat out the song of my soul; the arteries and veins were too clogged with the plaque of hate and sadness that the melodious notes were stopped hard in their tracks on their journey from heart to soul and back again. So I wrote with the blood that poured from my skin as the razor of hate tore up my soul. But the needle of hope that stitched me back up always gave me new inspiration.

This is when I learned to retrieve the poetry off the walls of my heart and display them on my skin instead. Days and nights have taken these scars and mapped them into constellations and stars, which transform into my eyes as I tell you, ‘it gets better.’ The shadows that line the universe of my soul are turning to day as hope seeps through my veins, which carry the images of the beauty around me from my brain to the rest of me that needs to feel it.

Sometimes, when I forget who I am, I put my wrist to my ear and listen to the beat of my heart. The pain of my past rolls into me like imitation waves out of a conch shell, and I am reminded of where I’ve been and what I’ve become. In that moment, I am reminded of that once upon a time when I thought nothing was ever going to get better; I am reminded of that ‘once was’ when my pain was so enormous that I truly believed nothing but darkness was ever going to radiate from it. But that was then, and this is now. Nothing is forever. The looming, shapeless, darkness of my ‘could have been’ future has become as bright as the sun that peeks through my window at 5 am and paints my face with the colors of its golden rays.

My soul has been weaved into every word that encompasses my being. I have captured the light of every fading star and kept it tucked away in my soul for a rainy day. I am more than a writer; I am a being between the lines.

Fall in Love

When you fall in love, don’t fall in love with just a person; because sometimes hearts get broken.

Instead, fall in love with life around you.

Fall in love with the way hope creeps up on you when you least expect it but need it the most.

Fall in love with the way the seasons change and how the world keeps going on.

Fall in love with the autumn causes trees to shed their leaves, sending leaves and petals fluttering in its breath.

Fall in love with the way winter turns everything around you to ice; how it holds misplaced leaves captive in their frozen, glass tomb.

Fall in love with the breath of spring as it melts the world around you, ushering in new colors in its wake.

Fall in love with the way summer sings its song to the tune of crickets and laughter, crackling fires and the boom of thunder.

Fall in love with music that makes you believe in magic.

Listen to it over and over again as it weaves its way into your soul, becoming a part of you with every note.

Fall in love with old couples who have been together forever. Their wrinkles a road map of their journey together.

Fall in love with the way the moon and the stars turn the dark sky into a beautiful masterpiece.

Even the darkest things are capable of being beautiful.

Fall in love with the lone candle sitting patiently in the window of your far away home, like a beacon it will guide you back always.

Fall in love with the way your bruised kneecaps cushion your fall, with the space between your rib cage that will be full one day, with the way your pulse echoes at the hollow of your wrist—reminding you that you are alive.

Fall in love with the way that your heart quickens its stride at the sight of a boy whose song harmonizes with yours, of a little girl who refuses to give up on dreams that are bigger than she is, of a person who has been knocked down over and over again, but somehow always finds the strength to stand.

Fall in love with the way oceans talk to you through seashells, with the way the sky and the land don’t meet, there is always a horizon.

Fall in love with the way light streams in through your window, because today is a new beginning.

Fall in love with the way baby birds learn to fly; shaking off bad dreams like downy feathers.

Fall in love with gravity as it holds us together, but fall in love with the idea of flying.

No dream is too high.

Fall in love with the way broken hallelujahs sing out from all around you, marvel at how they are transformed into beautiful melodies.

Fall in love with hellos and goodbyes, with the way eyes can ask so much.

Fall in love with the way the train track never ends. It’s on a journey to find itself and somehow manages to always miss itself.

Fall in love with the way a tombstone can say so much with so few words.

Fall in love with a book; make it your favorite, read its story over and over again.

That new book smell of paper and ink will never go away, but will always be there, dancing at the end of your fingertips.

You can tell a lot from fingertips and hands if you pay careful attention.

Fall in love with the rain and the tears. Fall in love with you, because you are beautiful.

Fall in love with stories and write your own on your journeys.

Fall in love with things that don’t make sense, dream in colors that don’t exist, create a world that will one day be.

Fall in love with your shadow, with your reflection; because it will always find you again.

 Fall in love with the wispy clouds on a clear summer day.

Fall in love with something new every day.

Fall in love with the eye his eyes light up when he smiles.

Fall in love with the way she captures the beauty of life with words.

Fall in love with the way her eyes fill with wonder.

Fall in love with the way she is clumsy but graceful at the same time.

Fall in love with everything.

Transform “I love you” into “I love your everything.”