“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have
known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths. These persons
have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of
life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep
loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”—
All of this is to say, I have seen some things that all too often make fireside stories uncomfortable for those who were raised with much better holding. Now that I’m grown, my days are spent with young folks trying to pry their way out of the shrapnel they call home. My nights are caught somewhere between the ideas of what I can be and the disdain for where I came from. My best me exists when I am pooling in the massacre that exists between these two places. If you have ever bled sunrise and called it relief, I have compiled a list of ten truths I want you to know, that I promise I am still trying to learn myself:
1. You ARE better than a story of what not to do.
2. You’re living in response to your upbringing, which means that your children will live in response to how you raise them. What do you most want to teach them?
3. Somewhere tonight there is a woman praying for you, wishing she were your mother. She knows you might hear her differently if she were—do not shun her prayer. Let it crowbar your liquid shoulders. We all have rusted parts.
4. Be more than a patina’d lawn decoration for the wealthy.
5. Some of us have to choose new places to come from. Don’t worry. You won’t forget what came before that. It lives in the fearful cower you fight daily.
6. In the moments you forget someone loves you, pretend somewhere, across the vast blue of your compulsion, there are continents of optimist hearts.
7. We humans do get what we ask for.
8. Please, stop asking to be re-wounded. You have branded yourself with scars that will not disappear with the skin-sag of old age.
9. Most days, our bodies are temple wars. Honoring them holy is as much a practice as breathing.
10. Get in the habit of affirming: YOU ARE HOLY with each breath. Brave words like “loved” and “beautiful.” Say, “I AM holy. My walls of that are a temple. I am sacred.” Sacred does not mean pristine. “I am beautiful. I am landslide and crater shake, I am human in all of the faults that build me. I am loved.”
If this feels wrong or foreign, that is okay. Sail on the violence of its awkward. Court it as your new addiction.
my therapist says that we are all at any given time, doing our best, no matter what we’re doing. i struggle to believe that sometimes, but i always believe that the people who leave this world on purpose were trying like hell, trying their very very best, to stay. what fills me with grief is…