On days I do not love myself, grief shows up at my front door like an uninvited guest. It touches the walls of my apartment, disrupts the silence that once existed in its confines and tries to break into it.
It sits through lunch with me and offers to buy me coffee. It won’t seem to go away and for some reason; I find myself being unable to say no. Suddenly, waffles don’t taste as good as they did. Coffee tasted a lot more bitter than it did yesterday.
On days I do not love myself, a wounded heart carries itself inside my home. Like a soldier who just arrived from the battlefield. It tells me that there are wounds inside each one of us no one knows about. Some days, great stories of valor are born from it. Other days, there is the lingering trauma of the war that dwindles. I learned something that day.
Loneliness comes after, making its presence known in the cold, flameless fireplace. Its presence is so prominent I can feel it crawl under my skin. Sadness seeps right through the walls, banging against my heart like a loud song on repeat.
They say it’s supposed to bring me a sensation of searing pain. And I try. I try to absorb the pain it brings but I am just numb to the core. I walk the corridors of memories in an attempt to steal all the sunshine. But I’m left with only streaks of light.
Nothing about this is beautiful.
On days I do not love myself, I wake up feeling afraid of myself. This body sometimes still feels like an intruder in the same home it built. I attempt to breathe but my lungs give out. I try to say something but words fail me. The walls I have created for myself have betrayed me.
On days I do not love myself, I watch as hours tick by until music becomes a dying symphony. I’ve decided that the presence of it has always been alive, but when the time comes and it dies, I do not know how to grieve for it. I do not know how to become without music. So when my own existence corrupts my love for it, it breaks me twice as much.
On days I do not love myself, love no longer fits me like my favorite hoodie. My cereal tastes like insecurity. When I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see an enemy. And it tries to rage a war inside my head. I despise it now more than ever. The shadow has grown larger than me.
Etched into my skin like tattoos are all the words that attempted to tear me down, all written on my skin like an art piece on canvas. My torso splits in half and you can see all the curves, all my valleys, the entire journey this body has been through.
On days I don’t love myself, I write.
I write and write until my body has collapsed. I write and write until flowers are drawn in and they dance to the beat of every stroke of my pen. I write and write until words are beautiful again. Until they do not try to hurt me again. I write and write until I learn to love myself again.
I am not proud of this pain. But I am proud of my battles. Loving myself was never easy, but sometimes just being alive is all that matters. Just waking up, even with a heavy heart, is all that matters. Just knowing everything is going to be okay is all that matters.
And even though the process is slow and agonizing at times, I’m realizing that I could handle it. Even when there are days when grief shows up at my doorstep unanticipated, when loneliness stays by the fireplace just to make me cry, or even when the mirror is my enemy and my body never seemed enough, I still matter.