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and were you being good to yourself? by Warsan Shire

Dear T.,

Ah, but you turn thirty today. And wasn’t turning older always been a bit liberating and difficult, if only because you’re shedding the skin but are still caged in bones you were born with, and only because you’re genuinely surprised that you’re still here?

Every day your body is a grave that you rise from, and every night your body is a tomb you go back to.

What does growing old mean, I find myself asking these days. And am I growing, or simply passing through the years? I lie awake during the wee hours lately, whispering in the dark: do I even exist? I touch my face, my arms, pinch my hips: am I really here?

I make mistakes, yes. I make a lot of them lately. Constantly. Sometimes I learn, and sometimes I don’t. Which ones do I keep and own, and which ones I let calcify into regrets?

Here are things I’ll try to do: be good, forgive, exist. If I’m still around next year with nothing to show for, I’ll cross my fingers that I’ll at least have done this. Be good, forgive, exist.

Happy birthday, self. Be good, forgive, exist.

and were you being good to yourself?
Warsan Shire

[love letter to self]

i don’t think so. but, i forgive you, girl, who tallied stretch marks into reasons why no one should get close. i forgive you, silly girl, sweet breath, decent by default. i forgive you for being afraid. did everything betray you? even the rain you love so much made rust out of your jewellery? i forgive you, soft spoken girl speaking with fake brash voice, fooling no one. i see you, tender even on your hardest days. i forgive you, waiting for him to call, i forgive you, the diets and the cruel friends. especially for that one time you said ‘i fucking give up on love, it’s not worth it, i’d rather be alone forever’. you were just pretending, weren’t you? i know you didn’t mean that. your body, your mouth, your heart, made specifically for loving. sometimes the things we love, will kill us, but weren’t we dying anyway? i forgive you for being something that will eventually die. perishable goods, fading out slowly, little human, i wouldn’t want to be in a world where you don’t exist.

Comments (16)

  • This is lovely. I am so terribly thankful for the beauty and vulnerability you offer here. In every post, something makes part of my soul say “Me, too.”

  • This is so beautiful and it’s been sometime since you posted so welcome back…I would love to reblog this with your permission, mentioning the source, do you have a reblog button here? I can’t seem to find it

  • redphoenix

    This is my favorite part:

    “I make mistakes, yes. I make a lot of them lately. Constantly. Sometimes I learn, and sometimes I don’t. Which ones do I keep and own, and which ones I let calcify into regrets?”

  • Armen

    Thanks for this, I’m grateful for what you write.

  • MJ

    it’s been a long time, T. 🙂

  • I’ve turned 30 just last year and currently I’m experiencing an internal crisis. Thanks for posting, especially on items 3 and 4.

  • It’s always good to see you again in this place, T. : )

  • I wish you a happy birthday, T.!

  • So glad to to see this today. Happy birthday. “with nothing to show for”– you, and your you-ness, are enough.

  • amy reaney

    I am so glad you’ve posted again! I missed your writing and share poems very much.

  • veronica

    happy birthday! you were missed

  • Darren

    So thrilled to see you back! For the record, you are not “just existing” – you are writing again! Thanks and Happy Birthday.

  • Shreya Sengupta

    Found this on one of my lowest days, kept me alive 🙂


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