Whole (a poem)

WHOLE

You don’t have to return

to the hands that broke your bones

or to the words that manipulated your mind

to fear for your next breath

or to the people who dripped poison

to rot your heart.

You don’t have to make nice

or pay your respects

or explain yourself

or justify your existence 

or reconcile

to be whole.

If you love your body,

mind, and heart

the way they didn’t

then your soul is whole

in and of itself.

30 Things I am Proud Of

My 30th birthday is on Saturday, and a lot of people share 30 things they’ve learned at 30. But instead, I am celebrating my 30 years of life and all of the things I am proud of myself for.

  1. I was the first in my family to go to college.
  2. I earned 2 masters’ degrees.
  3. I have navigated myself out abusive situations.
  4. My husband and I have lived in 4 states, adjusting and thriving together.
  5. I wanted to publish at least one book by 30; I have published 2 books, 2 articles, and 7 poems.
  6. I have traveled out of the country. I am not as well-traveled as many of my other peers, but growing up I could not afford to travel. I am seeing the world based on my own ambition.
  7. I have learned how to say “no.” But I still need a reminder once in a while.
  8. I have developed healthy coping mechanisms for depression and anxiety. Sometimes I stumble and fall. Sometimes I don’t cope well and do unhealthy things when I am hurting. Healing and coping is an ongoing journey.
  9. I had a 6 year career in ministry, and then made a career change.
  10. I have survived what has felt like unsurvivable situations.
  11. I have lived through situations that changed me to the core, but I worked hard to rebuild and become a person that I like and am proud of.
  12. I have forgiven people who have hurt me. I still have others to forgive, and that might take some time.
  13. I am learning how to celebrate myself.
  14. I am learning how to advocate for myself.
  15. I have rediscovered important parts of who I am and reincorporated them into my adult life.
  16. I am intuitive and empathetic.
  17. I can change and grow. I am not stuck.
  18. I do the damn work.
  19. The friendships that I have maintained from past lifetimes are quality people.
  20. I still have some hope that the world can get better. Most days, at least.
  21. I am brave.
  22. I always want to learn.
  23. I always want to improve and be a better human to other humans.
  24. I fight to be here, because I know I deserve to be here.
  25. I know who I am. I have a strong sense of self.
  26. I am a problem solver.
  27. If I don’t know how to do something, then I learn how. I ask questions. I am open to being taught.
  28. I am more than happy to share whatever knowledge I have with others to make the journey easier for them as well.
  29. I believe our well-being is tied to each other. I want us all to succeed. I want us all to be equal. I want us all to be cared for.
  30. I am happy with how I am using my time on earth. I want to make the most out of whatever time I have here and have lots of stories to tell. I have not wasted my years. I have continually used them to grow and learn. I rest when I need to rest, I sprint when I need to sprint, and I stroll when I need to stroll.

What are you proud of? Even if you just make a list of 5 things, please affirm yourself today! Our lists don’t have to look the same. My list is messy and full of pain. But I also celebrate the journey. Be proud of yourself, where you have been, where you are, and where you’re going.

Here’s to a new decade of life!