9.5
May 24, 2016

An Instruction Manual for Putting Yourself Back Together.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Cp-LUHPRpWM

Put this next to your bed, where your eyes reach first in the morning light.

Your bed, not anyone else’s. If you do not have your own bed, put it in your place—where you read, where you write, where you know it’s safe to hide.

If you don’t know where your place is, find it.

Cry. In the morning, in the afternoon, on Saturday nights when it will ruin your makeup.
Tears are for washing, for protecting;
stuffed tears turn to poison, to hate, pulsing through the sea of you.
Cry when you are happy, cry when you are broken, cry when you need to
and because someone weak once told you it made you weak.

Begin to belong to you, and only you.
Did you ever belong to just yourself?
Be the person you can count on, to laugh with,
to endure with, to wipe the eyeliner from beneath your eyes.
Be the person to hug your hips, to read books to, to lay in the grass with.
You do not have to fill your spaces with someone else.
If you expect someone else to fill you, there will never be enough love.
Let light flood the empty parts of you and heal with sunshine, not fingerprints.

Exist, and let your existence speak for itself.
Do not make yourself a smoker or a prude or a body cavity to fill.
Do not make yourself into anything other than the person you are.
There is an identity, there always was an identity, you have never ceased to exist.
You have never disappeared, despite your many attempts.
Eat. As much or as little as you want. Do not vanish.
Breathe, deep, shaky, powerful gulps of air. Do not suffocate.

Wander into the places of yourself you’ve been too afraid to touch,
You may find bruises, you may find scars,
Know yourself, map yourself.
One day, someone will want to understand your geography.
Know how to teach them.
Wander too far away from home, leave home, build new homes.
When one burns down, you will always have another one to learn
to trust warmth inside of.

Set down your burdens.
You carried their emotions inside your heart for far too long.
You are not a backpack, or a hamper, or a trunk for all of
their old demons to sit and rot inside of.
You are not luggage, you are a person.

Love will come to you in forms that you don’t recognize.
People will love you who don’t need to be saved.
People will love you for your face in the morning,
and not when they tear down your strength.
People will love you for the way your voice sounds when reading,
and not when telling them what they want to hear.
People will love you because of the creation you are,
and not a wax figurine they tried to turn you into.

Learn to be fresh. To begin each day without yesterday’s mistakes.
Learn to sit in the rocking chair
and hold their flaws gently, cradling them,
as they learn to trust your balance-beam heart.
Learn to smile when plans fall through, when the food gets cold,
when the rain drenches us on our walk home.

Say, “I love you,” only when you want to say it.
Say no, maybe and yes. But not just Yes.
And not just No.
Carry inside of you the story of a person who is a tapestry.
A person made to help flowers grow,
A person made to give the world something no one else could.
A person made in divine light.

Let the hate steep with the tea.
Let your fear of remembering be forgotten.
Let your toes curl up in delight.
Let happiness sit upon your windowsill like a sleeping cat
so that everyone who passes will smile knowing:

You are whole.
You have always been whole.
You will always be whole.

 

Author: Chloe Bell

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

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