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.