This is my sense of self-worth: A dog in the wintertime, skinny, sitting squat on the side of a country road. A dog, alone, cold, still and wide-eyed as the snow comes down.
This is my pride: An arrow, honed for hunting. An arrow, sharp, laying underneath the last layer of skin, straight, alert, at the juncture where shoulder meets heart. A hierarchy of needs, and desire is in a crown.
This is my capacity for love: A stone, small, flat, entirely colorless but infinitely textured. Just touch alone, the weight and temperature of it in the valley of your hand, is enough. No eyes or mouth, no music; the line of your fingers against a stone in the dark of a windowless room.
This is my self-awareness: A morning like a mirror, clear, over the fields of a careful farmer’s sunflowers. The view from the school bus, head heavy with the truth that is all pain.
This is my weakness: A frame of wood made to look like gold, and a series of ill-fitting paintings of paradise.
This is my courage: A wind, a coat, butter cake wrapped in tinfoil. A painting of paradise.
This is my ability to adapt: An opening to the ocean, occasional rain stippling the surface, and underneath a dove-gray blue whale, mid-song.
This is my ability to trust:
This is my sense of self-hatred: Hitting the tar road at seventy miles per hour, hands on the wheel like guns pointed at dogs; hitting the water at eighty miles per hour. Crawling up the rocks, driving home. Getting up in the morning. Doing it again, again, again.
These are the most telling, the most impactful (of course, I’m only speaking on behalf of myself here), and the ones that
required a pause after reading:
5.This is my weakness: A frame of wood made to look like gold, and a series of ill-fitting paintings of paradise.
8.This is my ability to trust:
Em edit: Those are two of my favorites too! Made me a little sad to write them. Thanks, as always, for reading, Renatta!