Hi there, fellow human,
Love is a big-little word, isn’t it?
Hard to describe, yet simple, nay I say easy to experience.
Finding love - friendship love, familial love, romantic love, love for humankind - feels more difficult than ever.
But the most difficult love I’ve ever found, heard of, experienced the smallest glimmers of … is self-love.
It all begins and ends with self-love.
And it sounds so flowery, so overtly feminine, so obnoxiously inconvenient to our attempts to try and survive in our modern world.
With Valentine’s Day passing a few days ago, and having read Amanda Gorman’s “Call Us What We Carry” not long ago, love has been on my mind … particularly self-love.
And if you’ll come on this journey with me, I’d like to share a few of my favorite passages from Amanda’s powerful book, along with my connections to love in all its forms …
Perhaps our relationships are the very make of us,
For fellowship is both our nature & our necessity.
We are formed primarily by what we imagine.
We imagine a love so pure,
so unconditional that it dries all tears, moves all mountains, saves all sorrowful days.
Many think of a Mother’s love,
but for anyone who has a human mother,
we know this is anything but true.
“Unconditional” is like “perfection”
Neither truly exists as long as humans draw breath.
So our relationships, from the very start, begin in the most vulnerable way.
Imagining the unconditional,
and building our lives, our loves, our future connections around how tender we can remain in the face of countless heartbreaks.
Just like any skill or any art,
We cannot possess hope without practicing it.
It is the most fundamental craft we demand of ourselves.
Hope for humanity, hope for love, hope for our own progress.
Moving forward feels impossible
When the chains of the past, the pain that still leaves rust on your arms.
Practice is the best we can hope for, the most we need.
All we can ask of each other is to keep practicing.
Practice hope, practice love, practice joy,
Even when the world gives you reasons not to.
Do not give in to the hate, the fear, the distance,
Because hope is a practice, and trying is the very best we can offer.
To love is to be liable
To ourselves & each other.
Our need for nature
Is our need for origins,
The green tangled place
Where we are of least consequence
& yet still matter as much as anything.
How liable are you to those around you?
They depend on your effort, your caring, your warm body,
They depend on your labor, your love, your mere presence.
Without it, we become the lone wolf, ostracised and increasingly hopeless,
As the world grinds forward and we feel left behind, misunderstood.
But a walk a day, a few minutes near a tree, can shift all that,
As humans, we are beings of the world, the green world,
That continues on, always hopeful, always able to recover from whatever selfish outburst we give.
When love feels impossible, nature proves time and again that love is all there is.
There is nothing so agonizing, or so dangerous, as memory unexpressed, unexplored, unexplained & unexploded. Grief is the grenade that always goes off.
And the more we try to push forward, to hustle, to grind,
The harder the chains of the past, the repressed, the ignored shorten each breath we take.
We can only grow from grief when we release it, remove it from our lungs, our hearts, our limbs.
So we write, we move, we sing, we scream, we create a better world than the one grief tells us we’re allowed to have.
“You don’t even deserve what you have. What makes you think anyone gives a shit about this?”
Because I hope, I care, I love to see every human being cast off the chains, the shackles, the weight of their grief
To become the hope that inspires others to create the unimaginable world that humans are capable of.
Words, too, are a type of combat, for we always become what we refuse to say.
Racism. Sexism. Bigotry. Rape. Mental Health. Suicide. Fear. Vulnerability.
Just some of the words we refuse to say,
And in doing so, they are weaponized against those that are truly affected.
Reclaim, reveal, revel in the words that bring power, honesty, and hope to the human spirit.
Because words have power - in every post, every email, every conversation.
Words connect us, and divide us just as quickly.
Your opinion is valid, as a layer of your emotional experience,
but not everyone needs to experience it.
A virus fought inside us,
While violence is fought amongst us.
In both, our triumph is not in conquering others,
But conquering the most destructive agents
& instincts that we carry
Within our mortal forms.
Hate only survives when hosted in humans.
Self-hate, driven by experience, emotion, and the culture at large,
Is a dangerous epidemic in need of recognition, of words, of hope.
The more we understand ourselves, our pain, our grief,
The more we can come to understand others,
Even those most different from us,
For we are all human, all hurting, all hoping,
For something better, something softer.
We host hope in our hearts, our steps, our tears.
And we fight for hope in every signature, every sign, every move.
Because we are all capable of hate, and hope.
And choosing one four-letter word advances us all,
Or dooms us to the fate grief thinks we deserve.
Never forget that to be alone
Has always been a price for some
& a privilege for others.
The lone wolf thinks he has power, domain over his emotions and himself,
But as his humanity slowly dies, so does his hope.
We are community beings in need of community hope and community action,
With no hero to save us.
We are our own heroes.
We are our own salvation.
And we are better together - physically or virtually.