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Home > Poems > Here is a Lesson (You are Good Enough)

Here is a Lesson (You are Good Enough)

Monday 16 June 2014, by Kalsang Dolkar

I wrote to you, almost every single day.
I wrote as though my words would bring me back to you;
as though I were about to die of some terminal illness,
and the words that I was churning out
would be the last ones I’d ever send to you.
I wrote as though these desperate metaphors and similes
would fill the ever-expanding hole in my life –
but how is that possible
when you,
the love child of lonely nights and summer rain,
have become my life –
because when I rested beside you that early morning,
and I watched you sleep,
I realized something.

I didn’t want to leave.

I gazed at you,
fascinated by the sunlight hanging off of your lashes,
and time itself seemed suspended by the weight of my heart –
and the constellations you’d left in your wake the night prior
danced like the dust motes gliding above our bed.

I touched my head to yours,
and stared at the licks of your copper hair
spilling across the pillows and bedsheets;
the way your fair skin rose and would meet bone
and then pause, every other minute or so;
how sweetly your mouth opened
when you breathed out and kissed the morning air –

I didn’t care about being late.
I realized that I never wanted to leave.

That same morning, when we had to say goodbye
and your insomniac eyes met mine –
I felt the oddest sensation in my chest:
like a breaking beneath my flesh,
and a cracking of my bones –
I held you and didn’t want to let go.

In my dreams,
I stood with you at that airport terminal for years.

ever since,
I have filled entire journals
with the color of your laughter
and sketchbooks
with the hue of your eyes.
I touch the film of my past
and you permeate each strand.
You’re always there,
with your best intentions and kindest words –
crafting a lullaby out of your diaphragm, as I weep
for all of the people I have lost,
and all of the thoughts that rake across
my cheek and strike me down
like the hand of a man
who I thought loved me.

But it’s been a while since I first
collided with someone
who’d leave me with bones beaten black
scars burning the inside of thighs;
oppression that would show itself in the whitest of lies –
"Me? I’m – I’m fine."

Now, all that’s left of those days
is the panic that rises in my lungs from time to time, and the pain –
the pure pain of it all, of existence, of trying to fit my life in these rhymes,
it starts to wear down my resistance.
And still,
in my head, standing with a crowd of others
whose hearts beat brighter than mine –
or in bed, when time seems to be falling beneath my feet –
I can hear him
calling me a coward,
a fool,
telling me I am not good enough.

But this is where you come in.
This is where you say,
"No –
darling, you are not a coward."
You tell me that I am brave.
That I am a hero for the ways I have fought to live.
Then your voice rises, louder than mine,
trying to make me understand
that this monster was never a man –
while you are saying this,
this way of singing your love for me,
I can see most easily
why I love you more than I ever thought I could.
Further, your voice extends, impassioned
with the selfless desire to turn a victim
into a survivor,
holding the most beautiful kind of sorrow
that has ever graced my ear,
promising that tomorrow,
you’ll still be here.

You tell me that I am brave,
and that humans, as a whole, are a constellation of undiscovered worlds and newly born stars –
and that the duration of humanity’s love for one another
extends beyond the flat dimensions of fear
or insecurity
or a dark past.

In the words of my love,
reaching out to each and every one of you who are listening,
I say this with all the sincerity that can be mustered up
in this weather-worn, beaten-down heart –
you are not a coward.
you are a human being.
You break, you bend,
and sometimes, you’ll be dashed and divided into a sort of nothingness that’ll seem unfixable –
but then again,
the idea that you need to be fixed,
that there’s something wrong with you
is highly overrated.

You are not some tragic novella,
where your heroes die and your world burns up and that’s it,
the end –
no.
You are not a book to be read and then promptly shut and locked away.

You have nothing to be ashamed of
because you are good enough.

I will say this until it cannot be said any more.
Even when I am dead, I will speak through the hearts
of the people that I have loved and have yet to love,
this important lesson
because over the years, I’ve realized,
that the most beautiful people
are the most hurt.

And so, if you are hurting,
this is a love letter
from me
to you.

Lovely person,
you are
a kaleidoscopic blend of loneliness and altruistic warmth,
hospital corridors and fireworks in the summertime,
exhaustion – and the repeated decision
to keep on moving forward
despite everything that is thrown your way.

You may wear a mask to veil your own terror,
to protect others from yourself,
and that mask may start to burn the flesh off your face after a while –
but you are trying, and that is enough –
so bare your skin
and let your soul breathe.

You may punish yourself in ways unthinkable and unjustified –
you may veil your arms in shame of what you do when in pain,
not realizing that you carry so much,
that you contain as many multitudes
as the star that arches along our horizon each morning.

You may be suffocated by the pressures of every single day –
of the bills that you have to pay and the growing tensions between you and a loved one –
the arguments that rise into screaming matches –
the two jobs, the divorce, the troubles that never seem to leave –
the life of a parent is not an easy one.
And you may, as a mother or a father, look into the face of your teenager –
and recall what it was like to first look at them in the hospital or at the adoption center –
and now weep for how different things are today –
but rising debts and locked doors and the natural ebb and flow of life
have nothing to do with your worth as a person,
nor your capability as their guardian.

You may wear burned skin or broken bones to school,
and can never tell anyone where they came from –
or you may bear the impossible weight of an attempted or successful rape –
your demons may be deep and dark and consist of the leftover,
glittering shards of who you used to be –
you may cry when no one’s around to see,
or you may cry when someone simply asks,
“How are you?”

The burden of tonight’s sky may be falling upon your back,
with broken beer bottles and torn photographs littering your past –
you may feel like your family is broken,
and you might be missing a parent, or both,
or you may feel like you are too much of something, everything –
too fat,
too skinny,
too poor,
too stupid,
too old,
too ugly,
or maybe you feel like you aren’t enough of something, everything –
you think you aren’t good enough.

But, oh,
if I could,
I would sing it into your bones,
cry with you as you mourn for all the things you’ve lost in your life,
hold you as tremors rip into your shaking form.
I would tell you,
as my love has told me, time and time again –

You are good enough.

And nothing will ever change that.
Not now, not ever.

This has been a love letter,
from me
to you.

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