A Fair Fall

The leaves whistle in the trees and crunch beneath my feet

With flecks of gold, brown and red littering the street.

A subtle wind tickles my skin, blowing thin and crisp

Through a world dimmed and shadowed by a grey could wisp.

Sturdy boots stamp the pavement, my feet warm in their stocks

And I smell sweet corn picked fresh from golden stalks.

Scents of cider and cinnamon mingle in the air—

I feel joy. I feel peace. And for once, life seems fair. 


A Voice Lost

I never knew silence could be so loud. You don’t notice the little noises that fill the world until they’re gone. Like constant humidity, you don’t feel the thickness of the air until you’ve felt a dry heat. The crackle of leaves beneath your feet. The pattering of shoes on the pavement. The hum of crickets and the chattering of birds. The tapping of the rain. The whistle of a breeze. The thumping of your own pulse in your ears.

I did not speak. I did not dare make a sound. Startled, furious, devastated, elated, I made no noise. I kept my thoughts in my head when I thought them at all. I could just bear my own quietness in the silence all around me. For the only thing worse than the quiet would be the realization that I could not break it. The fear that if I tried to speak and my voice was not heard I could no longer pretend that my own muteness was a choice. Fear of a silence so loud I could not break it even when I tried.

I looked around me and nothing was still, yet I could only hear silence ringing loudly in my ears. Could I form the words to break the oppressive peace? Was I meant to? What if I couldn’t? What if I did? So long it had been since my ears had been offended by the clattering of the world. Could I ever return to the silence if I broke it?

But I knew at once that I would never wish to return to this false stillness, this isolation. It might break my spirit to learn my own voice was lost in the void, but that spirit would surely wither in this idle acceptance. The breath swelled in my chest and deep in my gut. A whisper, a whistle, a scream, a sob; I would make whatever sound I could, if I could. I could fail, but I would try. I might not be able to break the silence, but it would not break me. I would not surrender my will to its repression.

I let my lips fall, and forced what should be a natural act. I felt the forgotten vibrations in my throat and let out a cry. It was not loud, but it was. It resounded in my hears and in my heart. To have done the thing I thought I could not do, was afraid to do, brought a lightness to my limbs and raised the hairs behind my neck. It was not loud, but it was. My heart raced with surprise and exultation, and brought a throbbing to my ears.

And suddenly I heard my cry come back to me, echoed through the trees. Again. Again. Again. It was not loud, but it was. And through the treetops I saw a flurry of wings and feathers, awakened to flight, incited by the forgotten startlement of sound. And they called back to me, in songs and screeches high and sharp. It was not loud, but it was. Their chatter filled my soul and I cried out again with a joy I’d never known. It was not loud, but it was, and it echoed back to me. Again. Again. It would never be the same—could never—even if all else remained. I had tested my voice against the world, and I had been heard. It was not loud, but it was. And I could be heard again. It was not loud, but it was, and it was enough.


You’re An Idiot For Breaking Up With Me

When you told me it was over I thought I’d be relieved. I’d pictured this moment for a long time, and when I did I always felt like a weight had been lifted off me. And I was relieved—I am—but I was caught off guard by the pain that accompanied it.

I’m not sure I ever even liked you, at least not more than I like a friend. I wanted it to be over, and yet I felt rejected all the same when it finally was. Why does it hurt when someone I don’t even like, doesn’t like me back?

Everyone keeps telling me that you’re an idiot for breaking up with me. I want to tell them that I’m the idiot for ever listening to them in the first place. Everyone is always telling you to date someone, as if there was something wrong with being single. As if being single was a sign of something wrong with you, a personality flaw or an admission of weakness. So you look for someone to date. Everyone tells you to date this guy, or that one, because he’s cool, or attractive, or has a good job. So you date the cool guy with the good job, and you don’t get too emotional or clingy because you’re not supposed to. Or maybe because you aren’t an emotional person, or because you’re not really even sure if you care about him. And in the end he breaks up with you because you’re not “emotionally invested” or “emotionally available” or maybe he can just tell that you don’t really give a shit. And then you end up feeling hurt and rejected by something you never even wanted in the first place.

Why does not wanting to date me make him an idiot? He doesn’t think I’m a bad person, or stupid, or selfish, or boring. He’s just not in love with me. And guess what? I’m not in love with him! And even if I was, it’s still not his fault. Where did this idea come from that love is about the kind of person you deserve? None of us deserve anyone. Love isn’t about being a good person, it’s about being happy, and making someone else happy. Love’s not something you deserve; it’s something you earn when you become a source of light for someone else. But we’re not all drawn to the same flame and some burn brighter than others in our eyes. You can’t help loving a selfish, arrogant miser any more than you can help not loving a saint. It’s not about who they are. It’s about who you are, and who they make you become. It’s about finding someone that makes you happy in ways no one else can.

No one ever tells you to find someone who makes you want to be more, do more, just to be worthy of their love. They don’t tell you to find someone who makes you want to work on your faults because you want to be the best version of yourself for them. No one says that the one who you don’t understand, who makes you question yourself and your convictions, is the one that will challenge you all your life. No one says that looks fade and popularity wanes and styles change and that no matter what there will always be someone who disapproves of your choice. And if you can never please everyone, what’s the point in trying to please anyone? Please yourself. Make yourself happy. Make yourself happier than you’ve ever been.

No one tells you that that’s what love really is—it’s the strongest kind of happiness, and you get to share it with someone else.

“When I see people who weary of each other, I believe it is because they have sought virtues in themselves alone, attractions of physical beauty. Have they based their love on each other’s thoughts? Who can weary of thoughts which change every day?” –Anaïs Nin

It’s not your fault. It’s not my fault. Contentment is not enough. We want bliss. Find your happiness.


The Girl I Lost

The girl I lost was confident. She was sure of herself, her beliefs, her values, her likes and dislikes. She was insecure romantically, but she knew she was a good friend and deserved good friends. She was proud of her accomplishments and could laugh at her embarrassments. She enjoyed being different, being a leader. She knew what was important to her and how to achieve her goals. She was not afraid of hard work. She broke the rules she didn’t agree with and followed the ones she did. She had ambition and direction, and she felt proud when she talked about her life to others. She trusted herself.

 

But the girl I lost didn’t feel worthy of love. The girl I lost was constantly looking over her shoulder. She doubted herself, which caused her to doubt everyone and everything. She wanted too many things, and didn’t know which she wanted the most. The girl I lost wanted to be different, not just herself. She feared rejection. She feared someone figuring out who she was before she did. She feared someone realizing she was faking it, that she was a fraud. She feared anonymity, mediocrity, and settling. She pretended to fear nothing, and instead she feared everything.

 

The girl I became was scared. She felt scared of things that didn’t even scare her. She doubted everything. She did not trust or love herself. She let others make her decisions and determine her own self-esteem. She was a good friend, but she put the needs of others above herself. She didn’t know how to take care of herself, so she tried to take care of everyone else. The girl I became avoided everything, herself more than anything. She lost her voice and tried to speak with someone else’s. She cared more about how things seemed than how they were. She was selfish in her solitude, and she hurt the people who cared about her the most. She was proud of nothing. She lost faith in herself and her dreams. She was afraid to take chances. She was paralyzed.

 

The girl I’m becoming is strong. She is in control. She puts her own needs first and takes care of herself. She loves herself and treats herself well and with respect. She is proud of who she is, what she’s done, and how far she’s come. She is not ashamed of her past or her failures. She is honest with herself and with others. She asks for help when she needs it and admits to her mistakes. She values the people who value her, and shares her time with those that make time for her. She is a better friend because she is a better person. She allows hers to relax. She trusts her own judgment. She listens to herself and owns her actions; her likes and dislikes, her interests and beliefs. She doesn’t try to please others, and in ding so pleases herself. She lets her friends build her up and will not let her enemies tear her down. She has new dreams, and isn’t afraid to follow them. She isn’t afraid to change them, either, if she decides she no longer wants what she once did. She is kind and generous and empathetic. She has initiative. People look up to her. People love her. People want to know her, to be her friend. She knows that she deserves love and isn’t afraid to chase it. She is not afraid to be vulnerable. Her humility allows her to take chances and accept the possibility of failure. She follows through with her commitments and makes time for herself. She speaks her mind and expresses love when she feels it. She has conviction in her ideas and beliefs. She accepts herself, and in doing so can accept others.  She is not afraid of her fears or herself.