Poems to Myself

I’ve decided to call my recent collection of poems (which I will continue to compose) “Poems to Myself”.

I have been very careful of late when it comes to dealing out unwarranted advice. I know it was at best unhelpful to me when I was depressed to get advice. At worst, it was perceived as a veiled criticism or an attack on my character. It can be painfully difficult to avoid doling out your “wisdom”. When you see a loved one in pain your gut reaction is to help them, to find a solution, to fix whatever is hurting them. A big problem with this is that we are often hurting ourselves, and no one wants to be blamed for their pain. Another problem is that just because something worked for you it doesn’t mean it will work for another. And no matter how well meaning your advice is, if it comes at the cost of resentment, it’s often not worth it.

And so, I’ve been practicing humility and self control by not giving advice unless asked. Sure I’ve slipped up a few times when my need to control a situation felt too urgent, but mostly I opt for more empathetic feedback. Just letting someone know you hear what they’re saying and you’re paying attention can be so powerful. Believe me. And if someone doesn’t want to hear something you can spell it out in ketchup on their mashed potatoes and they’ll forget how to read.

So, when I speak to the reader in my poems, like some Emily Dickinson gone life coach, I am really speaking to myself and you are overhearing. I am just beginning to build a relationship with myself where I speak kindly. I have spent so long belittling and degrading myself to the point that I believed I was less than nothing. I was a black hole constantly collapsing in on itself. Now I am filling my void with good things. Polishing the prizes I find in the mundane. Practicing self-care of the mind, body, and soul. If even one person gets pleasure or meaning from my poetry then it was worth putting it out there.


Self-Care

Give yourself a bath.
Suds your body gently
with frothy heaps of glistening soap foam.
Clean between your toes,
behind your ears,
and in the cracks between your abandoned dreams.
Wash away the diverging paths that still linger in your mind:
the which-way-story pages you still wonder about.

Soak the hot ripples of water into your thirsty skin,
dehydrated from hours in the demanding sun.
You’re ever circling like an amorous planet,
desperate for recognition.
Recognize yourself.
See your every inch and sate it,
with a touch of lavender oil,
bit by bit,
until you’re soft and slippery in every corner and crevice.

Close your eyes.

Slide deeper and deeper down the porcelain slope,
until your face is like an island.
Let the water lap upon your shore.
Listen to the calls of mythical sea creatures,
gulping at your eardrums.
And when the monsters of your bath tub have long since sung their final song of sleep,
and your skin ripples like the pages of your tear soaked diary,
Emerge.

Emerge naked.

Look at your body in the mirror.
Look at your self.
Notice how the molecules in your hand,
meet up so smoothly with the molecules in your wrist.
How your skin holds the pulsing meat and veins against your sturdy bones,
and so neatly hides your inner workings.
Notice how your face looks more like you than anyone you’ve ever seen,
and there’s more of you that’s well, than not.

But you’re still wet.
So drape a towel over your head like a last minute Halloween costume,
and rub your wet hair until it’s a rumpled mess,
brush it out until it’s smooth like a seal just seconds from the ocean.
Put on your jammies,
turn on the old bugs bunny cartoons that fill you with sweet nostalgia,
and sink into a bowl of sugary cereal.
Take it easy.
Tomorrow is another big day.
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