“I wish I took up less space in the universe.”
This was, one of the many messages, anonymously sent to my blog by a reader some time ago. I did not know how to respond despite the fact that I kept writing poems about recovery and how to cope with depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse and other experiences that make a person feel too much as though there is a great white shark eating their chest; a mountain on the length of their collarbones; and cobwebs coming out of their mouth when they try to utter words. Words that, nonetheless, could make them feel better at least for an hour, or a day, until they realize that there is a way out—that there is a way to breathe.
Words, as easy as people might seem to think they are, are one of the hardest units of living, breathing things I choose to deal with every day. And in so far, in the English language there are approximately two hundred fifty thousand distinct words in usage. But that anonymous message, comprised only of nine out of thousands, seem to bother me more than anything else.
Growing up, I was consumed with the idea that every single thing that breathes, and forgets that it can breathe like a candy wrapper or my mother’s vase, has a purpose, a story. A little poem in them. That if a powerful being created something as beautiful and as tragic as this universe, it was for a reason.
Within this reason is the conglomeration of every purpose of these little things combined—what your eyes can see, your fingers can touch, your throat can swallow, your mind could think and feel—and more than anything else, you entirely, as a person. As someone who deserves to take up space. So after I read the message, if my mouth had said anything, it was the word no, and if my hands could say something it was this:
LaPorte, an author, blogger, and motivational speaker once wrote, “So much is because of you. Consider everything you’ve ever been thanked for. Every photo you’ve been in. Every corner you’ve turned. Every time you’ve signed your name. Consider that you radiate. At all times. Consider that what you’re feeling right now is rippling outward into a field of is-ness that anyone can dip their oar into…”
You are not sadness. You are not the cigarette burns on your elbows. Someone will hold you like a daffodil and you will bloom the way you’re supposed to, with no stinging burns but with a blanket of freedom.
You are worth every piece of clothing; you need not to be naked to be loved. Your body is not ugly. You are not an apology. You are a wonder created, so do not only tell yourself that you’re beautiful in front of a broken mirror. You have to feel it in the recesses of your skin, along the lines of your collarbones, in the inhales and exhales of air that linger on the edges of your lips. You have to breathe it.
Nobody has ever told you that your voice cracks beautifully, like old radios playing music even with a background static on a Sunday afternoon. These are moments when you are not the scars on your skin or the blood between your lips. Even if you do not believe it, your eyes can peel off sour skins of oranges, and your hands can heal the bruises given to you by default.
You are a carousel ride from the moon and back. You deserve a star-crossed lover who can make you feel like so.
You have the right to feel shitty like everyone else. Remember that once in a while you can smash the telephone and yell you have had enough. Your arms will keep you from breaking, your tears will make your lungs feel lighter, and that is when you will learn how to love yourself. Not in parts, not in pieces, but in whole.
More than anything else, you are still here and your existence is incomparable to anything small and insignificant. “…You are felt. You are heard. You are seen. If you were not here, the world would be different. Because of your presence, the universe is expanding.”