This is the spoken-version and commentary of my poem, “Loss.” I hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me when I was in the middle of dealing with the pain of loss.
I feel a loss—
But loss sounds a lot like lack.
Lack of security
Lack of confidence in my identity
And lack of consistent thinking,
Because I am losing a sense of self
By searching for belonging in someone else.
Loss sounds a lot like help.
I want someone or something to help me find the words I need
To validate my emotions and expression
Because I am used to asking permission
For those things.
Loss sounds a lot like death.
Like something in me has died, and I can’t find myself
My words and movements are repetitions I use to look like everybody else
Too afraid or scared to say a word that will turn into an argument I am not ready to fight
Loss sounds a lot like my thoughts,
A mixture of chaos and movement,
In a constant wave of up and down
As I try to figure out what is
And what is not.
Loss is myself.
I haven’t figured out how to see myself through a lens that isn’t clouded by “good” or “bad” judgments.
I haven’t felt the self esteem rising through my bloodstream to remind me of my wholeness.
The only piece of me that feels confident is expressing my lack of it in my writing.
I feel lost.
When I am around you,
I feel lost.
Maybe it’s because of the thoughts I have
That drown out what is real,
And what is not–
Maybe it’s my mouth replacing the air with water,
Heavy in my lungs–
I’m afraid of what will come up
Once I try to connect the words in my mind
To the sounds in my throat.
I feel closed.
I want to protect my heart from the heavy weight I hold
When I see you,
But I’ve realized I can’t see you.
How can I see you when I can’t see myself,
Or when I look around and find no familiarity in my surroundings?
Grey is now permeating everything I see—
So first, it starts with me.
I choose to remove the weight
And look forward to my day.
I focus on being present
When the past is pressing in on all sides,
Forcing me to hide.
I focus on having patience
When I feel wasted by
The people surrounding me on a daily basis.
I focus on communication,
And protecting my mind and my heart
from the forces around me asking me to change who I am
Because I am worth it.
I will say it over and over again,
That I am who I am,
Fallen and imperfect.
I love the cracks in my hands and freckles on my skin,
And the excitement I get from a small moment.
I ask nothing to forgive,
I only ask for a conversation,
Not a misinterpretation.
I ask for someone to see me past expectation.
See me as a living and breathing human who is prone to making mistakes.
See me as you would see yourself at the end of the day—
As a person.
Sometimes I smile out of habit.
I don’t notice when it’s dishonest,
Because I’m so used to convincing myself it’s true.
You can fake it so much that it turns into your reality,
Even when you are pretending.
But sometimes pretending seems more familiar to me than reality.
I continue repeating and hearing the sound over and over again—
Feeling the stretch across my skin—
Feeling the void of emotion—
“Please forgive me.”
My thoughts cry for forgiveness from this notion
That I will never be good enough to
Measure up and be the version of perfect
I want to see—
Or feel in my body.
Maybe perfection would give me peace,
Or maybe it would destroy me completely.
I need time to breathe
Or to time my breaths
But the counting creates a mood of apathy
Like I can’t stay awake like this—
And I’ve missed the reason
For methodically breathing
In and out.
It’s broken down for peace,
Not destructive thoughts
That beat up my heart,
But slow beats so I can stop and think,
And count to slow down every word racing
In my mind.
I want to stop hiding behind a glass wall.
I don’t want to wait for it to fall
Just so I can tip toe around the glass pieces
Holding distorted reflections of what I used to be.
Or how people see me.
I don’t care what they think.
I care about finding the light behind the door I closed 4 years ago.
I care about holding time close as I think about the future I don’t know.
I know what I need.
I need to stop thinking, keep counting, and move into the place that is meant for me.
I want to be free.