How I Learnt To Love Myself The Way I Love Others

Drawing by Julian Landini

Drawing by Julian Landini

I am hungry.
I have been starving for years and years.
I have been starving for love, for answers,
for validation, approval, attention, purpose.

I have been trying to fill my void with cheap compliments,
Slimy strokes to the thighs and hips,
Anything that would make me feel wanted,
even for a moment,
Even for the wrong reasons.



Everything that I am given disappears
into the abyss of my black hole.
My depression, my anxiety, my distrust, hatred,
self-loathing, sadness, insecurity, neuroticism, fear,
Squirm inside me like starving maggots,
Waiting for my thoughts to break down the compounds of all of the kind words,
Waiting for them to rot in the damp, cold, dark,
And then they eat until it is all gone.

How do I learn to love myself,
When I had been programmed at birth
to loath every fiber of my being?
When I have spent years and years,
apologizing for my existence,
To the ones who were supposed to want me here the most?
When I have been conditioned to believe that I was worth nothing without my capabilities?
When I have been taught that I as a person
have nothing to contribute
without breaking off a piece of myself and giving it to someone else?

How do I learn to love myself
The way I love others?

I want to fill my mind with songs―
Lullabies for the restless, love songs for the smitten,
And symphonies that harmonize with every feeling,
So no one would ever have to feel alone by my side.

I want to fill my heart with the sun―
Warm enough to melt away layers and layers of ice,
To warm the hands of those still freezing in their winters,
And to wrap around those who have never felt like they were loved.

I want to fill my soul with flowers―
An infinity of flowers that I could give endlessly,
As gentle reminders that my thoughts will always be with those who need them,
In their grief, and in their joy.

I want my eyes to see beyond what they are shown,
To see beauty even in the dark,
For my ears to listen for the truth,
To hear music even in silence,
For my voice to pierce through the static of propaganda
and distractions from the pleas for help,
To disturb the hush of censorship,
Believing that my words
Have value, too.

I want my hands to spill color onto grey asphalt,
And to stomp my feet into the ground wherever I go,
To leave the deepest footprints that I can,
Even knowing that my footprints will slowly fade
Once I am gone,
Believing that someone
Would like to remember me.

Written by Sachi Johana Yasui