Learning to Love Myself Through Poetry
I am writing this the same way I write poetry, without concrete structures to confine my thoughts or emotions. You see, I have always had this idea of what a writer should be - eloquent and infinitely profound. I believed that if I could embody this model, I could write something beautiful, something perfect. After all, perfection was everything I strived for. It was the only acceptable level of standard my anxious self would accept and when I didn’t achieve it, it left me in a perpetual state of drowning, terrified in the midst of my own expectations. It took me many years to realize that writing is an art form; a perfect piece of writing simply does not exist.
Since I began writing poetry, I have grown to appreciate the raw emotions I feel through it. I have been able to experience the joy when someone connects to my writing and shares the same thoughts and emotional experiences. Poetry has become my main focus because it allows me to be as abstract and as personal as I want to be. I often times leave my poetry cryptic and open-ended to allow for multiple interpretations. Despite experiencing immense pleasure when people interpret my writing the way I intend it to be read, I find it especially enjoyable when people interpret it differently. I do not restrict my poetry with rules - an act of defiance against my perfectionism.
Now, writing has become more about capturing what I feel and think in a given moment than about grammar or punctuation. It has become a way of healing, of making sense of the chaos around me. I want to show people the world as I see it through thoughts unconstrained by needless expectations. Although my writing is nowhere near perfect, I can accept it knowing that I am able to express myself through it. I can say what I want to say and there are always people out there who will support and identify with me. And that alone is enough.
Below, I have included four poems about self-love and strength for you, my dear reader.
What Would You See
Some say that in the moments before your final breath, your life flashes before your eyes. What would you see?
I hope you see the time and dedication spent towards the things you love, the things that made you happy.
I hope you see struggle, because we all struggle. but i also hope you see the strength and determination it took to pick yourself up when you were at your lowest points.
I hope you see the faces of all your friends and family that you held closest. because even though you were backstabbed or let down thousands of times, you had faith and kept going.
I hope you see a beautiful creature who blossomed and found a home within themselves. someone who learned to love and accept themselves despite what society said.
But most of all, I hope you see a life lived to its fullest.
Instructions: Read This Out Loud
One. Do not let anyone talk down on you or your hobbies. You are here for a reason, and you deserve all the respect in this world.
Two. Do not wait for someone to love you before you learn to love yourself, because your body has waited too long for you to look in the mirror and call it beautiful. Besides, people are temporary and their opinions do not matter nearly as much as you think they do anyway.
Three. Do not be afraid to express your sexuality. I know it can be frightening, but there will always be people who accept you for who you are. Yes, double standards suck, but I assure you, you will stop feeling like scratching the skin off your body.
Four. If a friend, a family member, a significant other, or a stranger is acting in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to accept it.
Five. I repeat, you do not have to accept anything. You should never feel forced to do anything.
p.s. Love yourself like I love you, please. But don't feel rushed, you'll learn to love yourself in time.
It hurts me to see the way you talk about yourself, love.
Like you’d be beautiful if,
you’d be stronger if,
people would like you more if -
but there is no if.
Love yourself for how you exist right now,
Love yourself and your birth marks and your scars,
love yourself for your mistakes and your failures.
Love yourself for never giving up.
Love yourself for the way you laugh too hard,
for the way you get excited over little things,
for the way you won’t stop talking.
Love yourself now,
I want to tell you, I'm sorry. Sorry for so many things. But mostly, for failing as a writer. Because I have spent my time telling you to "love yourself" and to "not let your pain define you," but I have mistaken your fake smiles and optimistic attitude for success. I have forgotten to tell you how difficult self-love really is. And I know, that you know, now. But I am here to remind you that it's not warm baths, green tea, or self-help books. It's not what they make it out to be. It's standing in the mirror fighting to find one feature you love about your body. It's becoming vulnerable and trusting the universe, to respect you for who you truly are. It's healing one second at a time, knowing that every day is a new day to become the person you want to. The person you'd be proud of. It's becoming your own sanctuary and learning to find a home within yourself.