For years I hid away in the shadows, never letting my truth be seen. Friends and family: their eternal happiness was always my priority. Yet, as I lingered in the penumbra, the tears and blood would flow, showering the landscape of my world. I could feel my body crumbling, becoming one with the pavement and the grass, but I could never pinpoint just what it was that was wearing me down, eroding away at my heart and soul.
I didn’t know it then, but I’m starting to see now. Slow but surely, I’m learning how to put myself first. It may be for only a moment, a lengthy and delicate breath, but those moments are critical in ensuring my existence on this desolate planet survives the surges of dynamic, unrelenting storms.
My wishes aren’t easily granted, my desires often left unspoken. I have finally started embracing my wants, allowing myself to quench the thirst or satisfy the desperate hunger that I feel inside. I still lack any semblance of balance, though, and either find myself still starving or excessively indulging. They say that you can never fill from an empty cup, but you also can’t let it runneth over without drowning. Neither is healthy for me.
So, I’m still learning how to prioritize myself without being selfish or spoiled. It’s an impossibly tedious task to find the middle path, the comfortable in between of having it all or having none. If I stand in line to take a number, it must either be first or be the last. Everything is still black and white, but I need to discover the shades of grey to discover a reality that can be managed. Yet, somehow, I’m constantly still lacking.
My veins pulsate as I morph into a monster, a destructive, narcissistic machine. The desire to be the leading role, the dazzling and shining star, force me back into the umbrage of loneliness. My voracity binds me to lavish outbursts, leaving me with no choice but to retreat to the forsaken wasteland left inside of me. Nobody wants this person really, not even me.
I often wish that I could sacrifice myself, that I could be your martyr. That burden is too much to bear, however, especially as I make the promise to place myself at the top of my list in my times of need. I feel the dissonance inside my mind, the deceptive, unresolving cadence of unfinished music lingering in the air.
Is the risk worth the reward? Can I ever master wielding the fragility of self-care while also remaining a compassionate person? The truth is, I’m still learning how to put myself first. It’s a terrifying time, allowing the face in the mirror to have value, to accept that I have worth. Yet, as I allow myself the pleasure of living, of walking out into the sunlight, I refuse to push you into the darkness of the moon. I may be training to win that marathon, but I’m also learning how to make sure nobody is left in last place. In some ways, I think that I will always still be learning how to prioritize, constantly fighting against self-hatred, finding the path of putting myself first.