Undress yourself of the new name you gave yourself, the shell you used to hide from others so they wouldn’t see your damage and call it by your name. But it was your name, and it is your name, and it is time you reclaim it:
The hands that touched your body left bruises that only faded from the skin. You felt the burn each time you were touched. You ran from every helping hand. “Why would a hand want to touch what others discarded?” you thought. You became a stranger to yourself, less like the person you were. You began to eat poorly, dress poorly, gave up on yourself. You forgot the importance of your existence.
Then, you thought of the people you loved unconditionally, and how your love meant nothing to someone who did not believe such love could exist. Then there were people who saw that love existed, but never told you how they felt and left as quickly as they came. And you withdrew, and stopped believing you existed altogether.
But you know the bruises faded like their touch and the years have passed. But ashamed of your weakness, you gave yourself new names: damaged, defeated, used. Though nobody knew you by those names, you felt wrong of them to call you strong. Would someone strong let people hurt them like this? Would someone strong let this happen to them? Would someone strong take on the weight of the world, knowing they can’t hold it together?
Take those words off and discard them like old clothes. They don’t fit you anymore. They never did, they just made you feel safe.
I want you to take new breaths of clean air. Don’t whisper their names anymore. Don’t think of their hushed retellings of your worth. They don’t get to claim you as their muse anymore. You are more than the stroke on a canvas, you are living and breathing art. Deep breaths to clear them out of your lungs. Deep breaths to calm yourself down.
Because you are strong. Don’t let them make you forget ever again.