I know this isn’t something you want to hear, but I think it’s something you need to hear: sometimes someone’s inability to love you the right way is not their fault. If you are the first person to show someone pure, genuine love, they may not know how to reciprocate because they’ve never experienced it before. In turn, they may not know how to give it back. This doesn’t mean that it’s your job to teach them, that you have to tolerate it, or that you deserve it, but I’ve found it incredibly helpful in my own healing to understand that sometimes people aren’t hurting you or treating you poorly intentionally. Sometimes people will self sabotage good things because they don’t think they’re worthy of it. Sometimes they just don’t know what to do, so they ruin it, whether that be by running away, being disrespectful, or causing pain. Sometimes, people still have their own growing to do. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you, it’s just that you happened to be there in the collateral damage. I don’t say this to justify any of their bad actions, but to offer a different perspective that may aid you in forgiving and ultimately reaching your peace.
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My favorite moment today was hearing Amanda Gorman read her original poem, “The Hill We Climb.” At just 22 years old, Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet ever, and with good reason. Her speech today stopped me cold in my tracks as I sat there and hung onto her every word as if it were my last breath. She represents the power of women, the power of Black people, the power of disabled people, the power of artists. Amanda Gorman today gave us so much today, and for those of us who are the intersection of all four (Black, disabled, women, and artists), she gave us more than we could have ever asked for.
As she said in her poem, “A skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.”
I’ve dropped the transcript for her entire poem below and the link to the video is in the sources of this post at the bottom! Please read/listen to it!
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman - January 20th, 2021
Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world, when day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. In the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice. And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried that will forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. If we’re to live up to her own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare. It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a forest that would shatter our nation rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than one we were left with. Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the West. We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the Lake Rim cities of the Midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful. When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.
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when I was dying
I think it is really fucked up
to start a sentence like this
everyone complimented me
on slowly turning to ashes
'You look so pretty dear'
and I heard
when someone is suffering
from lung cancer
You don't light them a cigarette
You do not hand a suicidal person
a loaded gun
unless you want them to die
so why did you?
why did you handed me a gun?
what was I supposed to do with it?
besides pulling the trigger
when you are sixteen
and at some point
we all are
nothing is as easy as dying
without anyone noticing
dying isn't like it is in the movies
a 60 second sequel
with blood and wounds and lots of noise
it is a quiet long-term-process
You do not recognise the dead
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I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Valentine’s Day is a day for love. Not strictly a day for couples. You can celebrate love without having a partner, because romantic love isn’t the only love that exists. You can have love for your family, for your friends, for your pets, for yourself. For whatever you want, honestly. I had been dreading the holiday because I didn’t have anyone to spend it with until I realized it was still a day I could participate in. It’s not exclusive to anyone. In fact, I plan on using it to be extra kind to myself, since sometimes I’m not. I’m going to practice self love on Valentine’s Day to make up for the times I haven’t. I am the most consistent thing in my life. My body does what it can to keep me alive. I deserve to treat it well. I deserve love, too, whether I’m in a relationship or not. I want some flowers, so I’ll be getting some. I want some hibachi, so I’ll be getting some. I want a nice bubble bath, so I’ll be taking one. You don’t have to be “in love” with someone else to celebrate; you can use it as an opportunity to show love to yourself.
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