Solitude is not
It’s not some smelly guest
that needs to be pushed aside
abandoned, or shamed.
I admit, it’s not
an easy endeavour
to face yourself in the mirror
of truth every single day.
To be stripped of all pretence
at intimacy with someone
other than yourself.
No make up will satisfy
your aching heart,
in a dark night with only
a handful of ethereal stars.
You won’t always dance
in the green fields of
resurrection and relief
The birds won’t always be there
to sing their happy songs.
Pouring rain, pouring rain
will come and soak
even your most sturdy dress.
But you will laugh, dear one,
you will fall down in deep black mud,
smear it across your face,
go a little crazy
And all will be right with the world
for you will know
that true love shines most bright
in haunted places
and that this world
kissing your face.
When you feel the painful sting of loneliness,
and you feel ready to throw yourself
at anyone who offers you kindness…
What thoughts have you been thinking
before this pain stabbed you in the gut?
Was it ‘I must hide, I mustn’t show myself’
or ‘oh God, I’m so unlovable’
or maybe ‘why is nobody thinking of me?’
Maybe when you write it all out on paper
and give yourself some much needed expression,
the pain will subside.
You see, I think we often mistake shame for loneliness.
We’re not really alone, it just seems that way
because we’re afraid to take up space.
And what better way to dissolve the pain of shame then to…
allow it to move through you, allow it a voice?
Shame isn’t rational and it usually can’t last when you consistently shed light on it.
Shame tries to keep us in place by any means necessary,
because at one time it was unsafe to move.
Shame doesn’t hate you and it’s not your enemy,
but it needs your help in letting go.
So be gentle, dear friend, and allow it full expression.
Just don’t take its words too much to heart.
It’s important to make the static energy in your body move.
Cry, yell, write, paint, dance, sing, curse like an old sailor – it’s all good.
Whatever you need.
And if in this moment, you are really alone…
What’s really causing you suffering? Is it not your thoughts
and the story around why you are supposed to be unlovable?
We could also make a different choice, and choose to befriend ourselves.
Choose to believe that we are worthy of love, and our own love foremost.
I promise you, when you give yourself your own trust and kindness,
your own company
will be the opposite of dull.
She observes and lets go
gently touching the pages
of her latest book
squinting at the sunshine,
smiling at the promise
Yes, her mind observes proudly
Yes, I can amuse myself. You see?
She nods, still unsure.
Sometimes, an orphaned feeling
of intense longing comes through
for yet another boy,
Or maybe still the same boy
in another body.
Her cheeks grow red,
she does not want…does not need
but it’s there,
waiting to jump up on her by surprise,
waiting until she feels at ease,
when her mind is rolling in the promise
of independence, when she feels
She is tired of the but’s in her body.
Not ready, never ready.
Just let go already! she yells.
Her body shies away at her harshness,
Shame knocks smugly on the door,
takes of his hat, and makes his own coffee.
Don’t worry, I’ll be here to protect you
from any indecency. No wayward feelings allowed.
Her body nods and crawls in a corner,
while her mind is already thinking of something else.
We are here, you and I.
We have arrived in this moment.
Do you feel how full it is? How rich the sound and sensations?
This is your home, your shelter.
Let’s close our eyes for a moment and rest.
Something funny happened today while I was writing in my journal. I was doing the usual self-analysis, detailling all the things I’m struggling with. Oh, I don’t seem to be able to do this yet – I wonder why I’m still today that. Oh, I still seem to have major issues with being vulnerable. Oh, I still feel so embarassed about sharing myself in group.
At the same time, I felt low-key anger building. I felt picked apart with very little compassion for my life experiences and the reasons why I’m struggling. After writing a page filled with toxic shame, admitting how I really didn’t like myself much and being scared that others would find out who I really am, my hand suddenly made a scribble mid-sentence. I felt another part of me taking over, and in big letters I wrote something in the trend of “FUCKING STOP CRITICISING ME ALL THE TIME AS IF I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!!! I’M DOING THE BEST I CAN TO SURVIVE WHILE I’M FUCKING TERRIFIED OF CONNECTING WITH OTHERS! DO YOU THINK IT WAS MY CHOICE TO BE BULLIED, HUMILIATED AND EXCLUDED ALL THOSE YEARS? HAVE SOME GOD DAMN RESPECT! I’M DOING MY BEST!!!
Followed by some sarcastic remark about how my two pages are full now. (I’m always telling myself to at least write two pages when I journal).
I felt surprised and also kind of proud of myself afterwards. There is a tension building inside of me between the old, familiar part that hates and shames me for ever being unacceptable to others and a new part that is compassionate and fierce, like a lioness watching over her cub. It makes me feel hopeful and more trusting of myself. Even if I fall apart and feel I might dissolve in the shame I’m feeling, there is a new energy looking out for me, and that is good to know. :)
Word of caution: all your feelings are deserving of gentleness and friendship, but it does not mean that they always represent reality. Don’t be discouraged if you hear a feeling tell you “I hate you, you suck”. It points to something deeper, worthy of your time and attention, but it does not represent reality. It’s a defense mechanism, trying to keep you safe in the best way it knows how. That does not mean that you can’t come to the realisation that you are no longer in danger, and therefore can gently let go of its skewed protection.
Having said that, enjoy the affirmation and may it bring you to a deeper knowing and acceptance of yourself. <3
I want to learn more poems by heart, and that’s why I’ve decided to learn a new poem every week.
I’ve bought a notebook to write those poems down, to make it easy to revise them.
Who else is interested in learning poems by heart, and do you have some suggestions of beautiful poems that are worthy of being kept close? Feel free to let me know! :)
Some poems I want to learn by heart:
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver (anything by her really!)
Womanbirth by Jan Luckingham Fable
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou