Three Chains

Three heavy chains cross my chest

winding over sweat and tangled hair

bending me double to the floor.

Selfishness is the most abrasive,

cuts welts into my tired flesh if I move against it,

kneel to put another soul before myself –

or even on the same level.

Cowardice simply clings like wet cloth,

makes me shiver at the thought of stretching.

Those freezing rags wrapped around my bones

are enough to cement me into stillness.

Laziness droops in metal drapery around my ankles,

gathers under my feet and trips me

the moment anything requires a step out of turn.


It’s only skin and blood against twisted metal,

soldered iron that ties not just my limbs

buts runs around my organs, squeezing my lungs.

Must I always be this person?

Can I turn the tides in my veins

to rust down the metal,

to build dams and bridges in my soul

out of sweat and foresight,

of looking back at the plans

our elders placed before us?

Might I be better?

And can I wake each day

and believe it’s worth the strain?


To the Love I Haven’t Met

My darling,

you deserve to bloom without the clouds

of my shapeless needs looming over you.

You deserve to feel proud

of every choice you made

to become the person you are now.

You deserve to love and be loved

as much as you are able

in this split-second wrenching stay.

And I’m sorry for all the ways

my empty spaces have made that difficult.

I, too, deserve to unfurl

without becoming lost in greed

for things not meant to be mine,

or hiding from who

I was created to be.

I deserve to spread the light

this massive heart is capable of

over the whole world,

not chain it in bed

with a desperate green monster,

convinced his are the only eyes

in which connection lives.

I deserve to feel whole,

to know jealousy is an admiration

for who I am one day meant to be.

Or at worst, a fear that only

in being other than myself

could I be enough.

The path to healing is steep

and the cobblestones make it tricky

to walk alone.

Will you hold and be held

as we forgive ourselves and rebuild?

Will you walk beside me through this life?

as we teach each other

what love requires

and the bliss of being held.

Forgive Yourself For Not Being Perfect

The person I used to love most in the world is no longer speaking to me. Our relationship has gone through so many different forms over the last few years, and we’ve done our best to adapt to those changes.

Recently I felt the need to take some space from this person and tried to communicate this with them as gently and compassionately as possible. Even doing this felt like a failure to me. It seemed all around me people were able to continue in loving friendships with those who had once been their romantic partners. Admitting I was having trouble with it felt defeatist and weak.

A week or so later the guilt was mounting and I wondered if I’d jumped the gun, so I called them and we spent time together for a few days. At first it seemed fine, but it ended in a huge fight, with them telling me how deeply hurt they’d been by my request for space.

I felt I’d let them down, and betrayed who I’m trying to be. I failed to be a good friend. I may not talk to this person again, and I hate that our last conversation happened that way. I blame myself and I’m flooded with guilt.

Last night I clicked on a link that said “The Things Each MBTI type Needs to Forgive Themselves For,” and for my type (INFJ) it said “Forgive yourself for the perfection you never achieved.”

My relationships with people are the most important aspect of my life and I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend I can be. I pressure myself to be perfect. So for this person who I care so much about to feel betrayed by me is the worst kind of failure. It’s the stuff of my nightmares.

But at a certain point I have to forgive myself, because of course I can’t be perfect. Of course I will fail, even at the things I pour my heart and soul into and hold dearest to me. Forgiving myself means acknowledging and accepting my mistakes and my imperfections. It means looking at myself through the eyes of a loving parent, who sees my missteps and waits patiently for me to learn from them, but loves me unconditionally throughout. It means looking at myself through the eyes of Spirit.

I see where my own pain has led me to make an angry comment, judge behaviour, be insensitive or unaware of someone else’s feelings. Seeing those patterns in myself, I understand that everyone else is hurting too, and that’s the root of their hurtful actions.

Self-forgiveness is vital, because it’s there we learn to forgive others.I can’t release others and grant them unconditional love if I’m harbouring resentments towards myself. Because it starts within. I do have a hard time releasing people, because I’m still clinging to this idea of perfection I think I can reach. As long as I believe it’s possible, I keep myself and others trapped, punishing all of us for not achieving the unachievable.

I want to commit to releasing this hold on myself. I want to choose again. So I choose to forgive myself for how things ended with this person who was once such a massive part of my life. I forgive myself and I forgive them for the mistakes we made out of our suffering. And when the guilt reappears, I’ll forgive again. And again. And again.

I can choose love instead.

Because at the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.