Sunburns and Dancing

I wanted to share with you all this poem that I wrote yesterday:

I am almost always scared.

I fail to remember a time in my life

Where I have been more certain than afraid.

I often feel that I would like nothing more

Than to release my spirit from longing

And let it glide free and light

Among a flight of birds.

I envy their careless freedom.

I tend to stumble along in the daylight

With my hands bound and my eyes closed

In a darkness I have made.

I have yet to discover a way to unbind

The clammy and indifferent fingers of fear

From around my throat

And allow breath to fill

The cavernous spaces in my lungs

That I am disinclined to remember exist.

I am afraid I might breathe into something so deep

I will not know how to control it.

And yet, I am always fighting for air.

I am almost always running.

And whether it be to or from

Or here or there,

It seems to always be away.

I am tired and ready to live.

I want to know that –

For whatever it’s worth –

I tried to make something meaningful.

I am almost always hurting.

There is a lump that wells inside my throat

Without knowing how to break into tears.

I am not sure I’ll ever find a way to leave it behind.

I am not sure I want to.

To choose between experiences –

To have hurt and lived

Or to have protected yourself and waded idly through?

There are days when my eggshell heart

Is so thin and close to cracking

That I can imagine the gold inside

Running out through my chest.

And there are days when I wouldn’t give up loving

For any amount of comfort or relief.

I want to feel the deep and true places of my existence.

I want them to shape me and to hurt

So that I learn what it feels like

To truly be alive

And try to find something beautiful.

Just because the sun burns our skin

Does not mean we love it any less.

It is this same brilliant sun

That allows us and everything we are surrounded by

To thrive.

So let my broken heart bleed out

Through the cracks in my nail beds;

I am tired and ready to love.

To all those who feel weak and alone –

You are worthy and strong.

Your words have knit the universe

And your tears are what fill oceans.

You are never too lost;

There are lights shining out

Through your elbows and kneecaps

And all the crooked pieces of you

That may seem awkward or misplaced.

These lights are there to guide you ashore.

You are the stones that build cathedrals

And the ropes that build bridges.

You are the reason the moon hides in the sky all day

And waits for night.

You give the moon hope enough

To believe that the sun

Will be called somewhere else and need her.

The moon is like you –

She wants to feel bright and glorious.

She wants people to dance in her light and her shadows.

And whether or not she has all of herself to give

Or just a sliver,

There is nothing that could keep her

From coming every night to wait for you.

She wants to share with you

The pieces of herself

That have found the strength to come with her.

She is no less beautiful

When parts of her are covered in shadow,

And she is no less happy

To see you smile up and greet her.

She wants to see you dance.

The trees sway in celebration of the wind

And the flowers turn their faces skyward,

Wishing for rain.

They know it will come to an end.

This rain will end.

We are broken and not dead.

Our breath is proof that we can be mended.

We are our own ship’s captain.

We sail and wish eternally

For a shore to come home to.

Come home.

Come into your fears.

Know that even if you do not have

All the pieces of yourself to give,

You are no less beautiful.

Your strength is in your every step.

You are sacred.

You are loved.

You are not alone.

Breathe deeply and do not be afraid to fall.

The earth will catch you gently.

The world is a place of belonging.

Come ashore.

Welcome home.

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