You sit curled up in the abyss of pain,
with your knees folded up against your chin;
you see within yourself nothing, but a void —
sweat and blood trace your skin.
When did you last… pause… breathe?
Stay still, darling —there are things you must believe—
Listen, as I speak.
You remind me of the mountains;
your bone, your marrow, built with rock and stone;
your spirit, like the mountains; strong, bold;
you are fashioned to fiercely protect everything
that you envelop in your fold;
you are courage.
Within you I see seas and oceans;
your existence is indispensable to life;
your formless spirit, ever adaptive; lingers;
you are water; the strength that holds ships up —
not water; fragile, that slips through fingers;
you are eternal.
Inside you there is fire;
your eyes burn slow; warm, passionate,
your spirit is ever-glowing, relentless, awake;
you cease existence; you ease existence;
you create and destroy; mend and break;
you are ethereal.
You contract and expand like air;
you are the slow rise and fall of a breathing chest;
your spirit sings of freedom, and wings —
you are motion, commotion, peace, jest;
your presence omnipresent; your absence exscinds;
you are life.
You are seamless, like the sky;
your spirit is the warrior that watches over the world;
you are made up of stars that guide the night —
you are fiercely wild, and fiercely calm;
you house both, eternal darkness and light;
you are incessant.
You have been created
with the elements of the universe;
the universe has been created
with elements of you.
This is a seven-part poem that I wrote earlier this year. When I wrote it, I did not have a lot in mind — it was just another piece of poetry that I had scribbled down on a piece of paper during a boring lecture at college.
It was not until I was faced with a great challenge this year that I realised the importance of this poem — the challenge of self-love.
Most of us have in life, at different points and for different reasons, internalised the notion that we are unlovable. Self-love is an alien concept — it is an idea that was never taught to us. The society with all its institutions has always demanded relentless productivity. It teaches us to be hard on ourselves — to push ourselves even when we are collapsing. Any form of self-love is seen as counterproductive and detrimental; it is seen as an irregularity that needs to be cured.
Amidst this madness, it becomes difficult to be able to look into the mirror and appreciate the tired, flawed face that looks back at us. It is difficult to allow people to love us — much easier to believe that everyone is out there to harm us. We stop allowing ourselves to be loved because we stop viewing ourselves as worthy of love.
We forget that we are not only a product of happiness and optimism, but also death and sorrow. Our darkness is as important a part of us as our light is — it needs to be embraced and loved, not fought and brushed aside. The only way to get up is to acknowledge that we fell down.
Although this poem did not have meaning during that lecture, it has meaning now — it is a message, a reminder, that we are a mixture of so many things, and none of them define us, even when all of them do. We may be tiny and insignificant, but we are here, and within us, a lot to be found and loved.
I hope you read this and are reminded of everything that you are capable of — most of all, love and being loved.