The first time the stars fell, I was horrified
As if the Earth itself had shifted on its tilted axis
Off kilter and haphazard with no end in sight
Where life before trauma would never return
And it did not.
The second, third, tenth, twentieth time the stars fell,
Fear retreated into numbness and normalcy
Used to the constant tug of gravity on shoulders
Where life before trauma felt like it never existed
Even though it had.
Now that I am safe and healing, falling stars still occur
Like reminders in my periphery of what happened
Replaying the same trauma tapes long boxed away
But they no longer have the power to abase
They are far away now
Only small specks on a canvas of stars.
Why is it such a challenge
To offer ourselves the same kindness we give to others?
Showing unwavering care for all human beings
While simultaneously torturing ourselves
With degrading words and punitive thoughts.
Injustices by others we automatically turn inward
Into unending attacks against our own character
Willingly taking the blame while blameless
The way we always had to do to keep the peace.
Some day, dear soul, I hope it will not feel so effortless
To absorb and reabsorb the pain of the world,
But until then, let us be kind to ourselves
With an overabundance of reassurance
That we are loved even when we do not feel deserving
We are trying even when we make mistakes
We are worthy even when we cannot see proof.
Now is made up of a million past choices
Of words we said that opened hidden doors
Of words left unspoken that indirectly closed them
Of leaps into the dark with a miraculous landing
Of tiny steps in broad daylight leading to free-falling.
Not a soul among us would refuse an offer to go back
To say the words, take the leaps, close the doors,
But even if we could, dear soul, would we trade today?
Maybe we could rewrite our stories without pain
Rearrange the stars to align in our favor
But would life carry the same meaning to us
Without the errant turns and heartbreak?
Maybe life is less of a product of our actions
And more of an interactive learning space
Where all roads lead us back to now.
Worthiness became an evasive mirage
Unreachable as my authentic self
So I tried to transform into a mirror
Always reflecting back the good
Knowing the detriment of showing truth.
Worthiness was the illusion of being needed
People-pleasing to keep degradation at bay
Giving too much became my forcefield
To absorb the impact of disrupting peace.
Now, dear soul, I am wiser but ashamed
That in all the years of reflecting to others
I lost a million pieces of myself
Some that I may find, others lost forever
Paying the price for submissiveness
Slowly awakening to the eye-opening reality
That like you, I was born deserving
Valuable before the first breath
Lovable without conditions or price
Worthy in and of myself.
There has always been an accompanying light
Like a small, glowing lantern floating along
While the dark took me prisoner again and again
Determined that I was meant to struggle alone.
At first, I thought it was only mocking
Watching as I climbed and fell and climbed again
But I learned to trust in the presence of light
As a landmark to guide me back home.
I know I cannot prevent the catastrophes
When life is a tedious gauntlet we must run
But I take heart in the warmth of that steady glow
To guide me when my soul loses sight.
What if we are all secretly hoping
For one more breath, for one more day?
Knowing our place on this unpredictable globe,
Some part of us understands we are time-limited
That change stumbles upon us unaware
Disrupting our equanimity in ripples and waves.
If the grains of sand in the hourglass are draining,
What if there is only today? Only now?
Then perhaps we would take a few deep breaths
Doing what we must, choosing what we must,
Saying the words to the ones who matter
Maximizing the meaningful moments
With what time we have left.
Maybe my heart will always bear scars
And only as time passes the stinging becomes bearable
Than when it was still so close, so unspeakable.
Now there are words forming to describe the depths
Instead of wordless, directionless whirlpools in the dark.
There are tiny embers glowing to illuminate despair
Not erasing or diminishing, but bringing to life
The dimensions and layers of what hurt the most.
Maybe my heart will always bear scars
Like aching reminders of what I have learned and lost
Cautiously healing, at times re-experiencing,
Forever seeking rejuvenation and light.
When I fall, which inevitably will happen,
I know that I can survive the landing
Over and over and over again if needed.
It is not a question of whether I am strong enough
But if my soul can keep dancing in the light
After so many leaps.
Inside each of us
Lives a younger, fearful version of ourselves
Still waiting for the words we never heard
Still longing for the approval we never received
Still mourning the loss of healthy attachment
Still believing the cause is our fundamental existence.
Within each of us
Lives a wisened, knowing version of ourselves
Saying softly the words we desperately need to hear
Quietly but determinedly offering our own approval
Loving the parts of us still bearing the heaviness of loss
Knowing on some level we were always enough.
The challenge, dear soul, is to implicitly learn
To listen to the opposite of what we were told
And to believe in it the way we believed them.
Let the next steps forward be kind
A peaceful walk on a blank canvas of snow
With sunlight softening the edges of despair
Dispelling the illusions and confusions
So that only truth awaits.
Let this next walk of life be calm
The old ways of survival are no longer feasible
To our evolving minds, our healing hearts,
We can replace stagnancy with momentum
So that only healing awaits.