Living inside shame

It’s so much easier to encourage peace and happiness in others when you yourself are happy. Of course anyone can stand on a mountaintop in their proudest moments and speak the goodwill of the universe: that we truly live by finding harmony in the path binding itself to our feet.

But do we talk enough about what it’s like in the adverse circumstances, our least proud moments when trusting ourselves is most necessary, yet our self-doubt is stronger than ever? We talk so blithely about self-improvement to reach success, to work hard to be your best, to fulfill that blind ambition above all else — but at what cost?

Who are you really doing it for? Yourself? Or the audience that you think is watching you? We don’t talk enough about the shame and guilt we rack ourselves with, when we lose the motivation to lift ourselves up.

I find myself more lost than I have ever been, doubting the trajectory of the path I’ve chosen — mostly because in and of itself there has never been a “clear” path. The path only unfolds as I move forward, and yet sometimes I feel so paralyzed with indecision that I don’t know what else to do but lay down.

Breath deep. Close my eyes. Wait for it to pass.

Shame — how excruciatingly suffocating it can be. Mostly because it is self-inflicted, because I ridicule my own inflated sense of self-importance more than anything else. And hating yourself isn’t very conducive to moving forward. But I know this experience isn’t unique to me — we all inevitably go through it. The days where we don’t want to get out of bed, would rather hide our faces in our hair than sit through the long hours of the day. But I want to talk about it now, because maybe you’re going through it, too.

Our public moments of pride, where we excitedly proclaim our accomplishments and wave them like flags of honor in front of anyone who will watch — those are not the moments that define us. What truly defines you is whether you have the strength to look at yourself without any false pretense or ego, to ask yourself what you are most afraid of, to hold yourself accountable for your own happiness.

The single greatest excuse we make, the one that stops us from pursuing what we want, is when we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough. This is the lie society will sell you, by telling you you need this many followers, and this many gadgets, this many friends, the right kind of job or the right kind of lover — because for some reason you on your own is not enough.

But believing this lie is the most insidious of falsehoods, in many ways because it is the one we’ve been conditioned to accept from birth.

So that is why I’m talking about it. Because if anything, there is nothing to lose in being honest with ourselves — because it is okay to feel shame, as long as we’re willing to dissect where it comes from, and are ready to do the hard work to come out of it on the other side.

What I’m interested in

I am not much interested in what someone has to say if it lacks nuance regarding perception as an individual experience. I am not much interested in what someone has to argue, if they are only expunging air to prove that they are right. I am not much interested in what you have to say on the internet, in how much of your identity is quantified by taps and likes, measured in impressions, or predicted by algorithms. I am not much interested in provoked outrage, in someone’s right opinion, in unimaginative disdain.

I am not much interested in much these days, except:

How bright and beautiful the sunrise still looks everyday, even from the inside of a hospital waiting room. The strange whoosh of air from a ventilator machine, how it can transform from something first heard in a nightmare to a strange rhythmic lullaby, the cadence of a heartbeat still moving blood through a loved one’s veins. I am more interested in how to make myself more capable of loving, even to the point of exhaustion. Because there is no such thing as loving enough — loving the world, loving myself, loving the people that matter most me. I do not know if humans alone are capable of miracles, but I am not much interested in that, since life itself is a miracle. So I suppose there isn’t very much I am interested in, besides the healing power of love, the love we have within ourselves, both for ourselves, and for one another. I don’t really care these days to have space for much else.

flower envy

I envy flowers
whose only purpose is
to grow and bloom.
But is that not what I,
have been birthed here to do?
What made me this way?
Intolerably complex,
taking for granted
the simple happinesses that
life has afforded me.

Why not blossom,
into the best version of myself?
For the soil is fertile,
and the love is plentiful,
in my heart
& in the souls of those
who love me

Do not falter
at the cusp of becoming.
The trees cannot ask
the wind to stop blowing,
just as I am mistaken
to try and hinder the flow of time.
The same force that crashes waves,
upon the shore,
beats the blood that flows in my veins,
transforms the air I breath
into oxygen
— just so I may wake up to see another day.

Do not forsake the one body I’ve been gifted,
to grow and bloom in,
Do not forsake the one life,
I have been given to love,
there is no past or future,
Only this moment that I am breathing in,
With so much life left to live,
it would be a shame to forget that now.

erosion

It is time you stop cutting yourself down,
Carving off your wilder edges just so you can fit into spaces,
That misshape the contours of your figure,
Embrace all the parts of yourself,
You are still learning how to love,
You are both the entirety of the ocean,
And the quiet wave lapping upon the shore,
Both the pebble made smooth over a millennia,
And the vast swells carving statues of their likeness,
Along the rock faces of cliffs
For far longer
Than you can even begin to remember.

the runaway

Swell me up like a wave,
Stir me up like a storm,
Leave me as something that I wasn’t before.
I have grown into a woman,
With the heart of a child,
In love with the world,
Fierce, fragile and wild.
I hear my voice echo out,
Screaming in the abyss,
Still searching for answers,
I’m not sure even exist,
Juvenile ponderings of a restless young soul,
Constantly looking for new places to go,
I don’t have any place that I really call home,
Besides the fire in my blood,
And the marrow of my bones,
So I will write the same words til they lose all their meaning,
Speak them out loud until I’m hard of hearing,
Drink all my coffee, breath out smoke from my lungs,
Try to sing songs, I haven’t already sung,
Take off for the horizon, like a bullet from a gun,
& tell myself that I’ll leave when it stops being fun.

brown girl magic

I am made out of magic,
& stories quite tragic,
Composed by the cosmos,
The stars and the static
A brown skinned girl
With an American tongue
Still somehow confused by what it means to be young
I’m a girl whose grown into
The child that I was
The same dreams and passions
Still deep in my blood
Where have I been,
& where am I going?
The trick is to keep moving
Without ever knowing,
I have cried at the beauty of being whole on my own,
Discovered what strength is by being alone,
Built my own home from the boughs of my bones,
While still learning to carry the weight of my soul.