What Haven’t You Learned to Love?

Yesterday my favorite poet, Andrea Gibson, posted the following as her Facebook status:

“If you were writing a love poem to one part of yourself you haven’t learned to love yet, what would it be?”

As of the time I write this, she has 125 incredible responses…

“My chatterbox.”

“My stomach.”

“My inability to love who I used to be.”

“My past.”

“My vagina.”

“Inability to beat my addiction.”

So much of the work that I do is finding ways to heal.  There is so much hurt wrapped up in the power, privilege, and oppression upon which our society is structured.  The pain is written in our bodies and on our souls.

The only way to move past this hurt is to find that space for self love.

This week’s post is a challenge to my readers.  Answer Andrea’s question with a poem of your own in the comments, 10 lines or less.  Have the courage to begin loving that part of you that you do not love . . . and begin with a poem.

Here’s my poem:

You’ve been a part of my life for a long, long time.
Perhaps too long . . .
But my hating you doesn’t bring us any closer to healing.
And I know that I cannot find peace with you
Until I find peace with the hurt that created you.
So little Jamie . . . know this:
Someone should have protected you.
Someone should have shielded you.
But they didn’t.
So forgive yourself…


Let this be a testament to healing . . . to love.


10 thoughts on “What Haven’t You Learned to Love?

  1. Ooooh I like this challenge!
    I’ll work on it and post later…

    • Ok ok!!!

      Patience was never going to be your virtue,
      but maybe baking bread takes time.
      Don’t move faster than your hands can knead.
      I promise, the crust will be worth it.
      And you’ll be better,
      for having caught yourself countless times,
      and for asking, when it was hard.
      You are your best ally,
      forgiveness takes no prisoners,
      and sometimes that’s all that matters.

  2. You are never wrong for being gay; you are right.
    You have learned to accept so much about yourself.
    You did not die a long time ago.
    You have lived and flourished and moved beyond
    The greatest pain ever inflicted on you
    To at times still feel hurt and alone.
    The only person in your way is you.
    Thank you for being alive, because this world needs more people like you.

  3. You have raised four awesome kids.
    You have volunteered gazillion hours of your time…
    to gazillion good causes.
    You have stitched love and creativity
    with needle and thread that could wrap the globe.
    You always strive to do the right thing.
    So tell me, dearest one…
    Why do you struggle with the question
    “So Karen, what do YOU do?”
    every single time it is asked???

  4. It cut through me like a knife
    Reminded me of its past pain
    Pressured me to cave.
    Yet I won’t suffer anymore
    It’s over and behind me.

    Don’t ever go on thinking you were the only one
    Don’t blame yourself or regret the silence.
    Just because the moment hasn’t come doesn’t mean it won’t
    One day your voice will come.
    But for now, you must move forward.

  5. You didn’t run fast enough in P.E. and I got my only B in school.
    You limped, got tired, and they said it was because I didn’t try hard enough..
    I ignored you, focusing on books, and food,
    and never treated you well because you’d let me down.
    I thought I could ignore you, Body, and be better off.
    And now you’re really broken and angry. And they’ve found real reasons for all the problems we’ve had together over the years.
    And I’m learning it’s not “you” and “me” against one another.
    You are me and I am you.
    Maybe we’ll heal.

  6. You walk fast, you talk fast
    You think fast, you rush past;
    Guileless, assuming no one
    Will misunderstand.
    Remind yourself it’s okay
    To be who you are:
    Working hard to stop the pain
    Rushing to love, cramming in all you can before you die
    Going through, not around.
    Just know it’s okay to breathe.

  7. there is a bear inside me
    yes, which has a fierceness
    pleasing to the gods, teeth
    that flash in the wild night
    like stars. and then

    comes winter, and the light
    those teeth, that god-glory
    creates suddenly dims — the new moon
    is not one candle darker —
    and I sleep —

    last night eleven hours —
    while a lovely woman’s loveliness
    was wasted on dishes
    the clinking of flatware soundtrack
    to my noir and deadpaw dream.

    I awoke, and my fur had turned
    to a wool sweater, my sleep-crusted snout
    to a man’s nose broken
    in a boyish scuffle
    for love — the very love
    that this moment sings
    in a kitchen clean as spring.

  8. If I could
    Paint my present just one color
    Beyond the scope of those days and weeks and months and years
    It would be white
    A blank canvas
    As a morning blanket of freshly fallen snow
    As a full moon against a darkened dome of sky
    As unmarred as
    a blank envelope, or a sprig of baby’s breath in spring, or a wedding gown un-donnned
    As good as,

    Because I am
    good enough,
    All of these seconds and days and years later, just the way I am
    Just the way I was.

  9. Over a year later- more than ten lines

    You are not proud

    You are somewhat proud of your brain
    You are proud of some of your words
    You are proud of your tangible accomplishments
    You are not proud of your body and lack of athleticism
    You are not proud of your past and having had no control over people treating you like crap
    You are not proud of being socially different and having disabilities
    You are not proud of being gay and a misfit within a stereotypical gay community
    You are not proud of having made few friends outside of college
    You are not proud of you

    You have given so much hope to others
    By sharing your story
    And writing songs that show genuine love and care and creativity
    You know more about music than the far majority of people on this planet
    You show genuine compassion towards others
    You are incredibly strong no matter what others say
    So why do you still wonder how you’re still here
    You don’t show enough compassion for your own struggles
    You need to live outside your head, so as to not be your own worst enemy
    You can think and analyze without dwelling on being hurt

    You don’t love yourself…
    That process has to happen for you to be happy

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