You know that saying, “If you love someone, let them go?” Well for years I thought that meant physically, like if they wanted to move to a different country, or even mentally having to move on from someone. But yesterday, I realized that phrase most nearly means, “if you love someone, you let go of who you think they should be.” You don’t [try to] control who they are or get disappointed when they don’t meet the expectations that you’ve set for them. You kinda just let them be and love them no matter what they do. Which is why love is so hard—because it’s about lack of control. It’s you letting someone in and allowing them free range over your heart, where they can either love you back or hurt you. It’s a gamble, but I think finding that type of love is one of our greatest privileges as humans.
Just musing over my life over the last few months. I think we let who we were previously intimidate who we are presently. I realized that I’ve had this image of myself that I think other people have too but now I realize that I’m wrong. I’ve been carrying social baggage–good and bad–from college and it’s really affected how I see myself. Like I assume people I meet now know about who I was then and am judging based on that knowledge. But really all they have is what I tell them and who I choose to be today. If they want, they could find out a lot about who I was then through social media and whatnot but they never will really know who I was because they didn’t know me then. All they have to make sense of who I am today and where I’ve come from is what I tell them. People assume you are much better and capable than you do. I don’t feel really accomplished at all but people will randomly validate something as a success when I thought it was a total, obvious, and embarrassing failure. So we are who we choose to be, and when it’s all said and done, everyone feels like they’re failing at something, doubts themselves, and compares themselves to others at some point. But we are our harshest critics really. Don’t feel down about your life. You’re where you are for a reason, so remember to live like it.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do
I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there you read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
“I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.”
“You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts.”
“I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s – my madness would not be an escape from “reality”.”
“I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am … You are a shit.”
You’re always going to be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too sensitive, too goofy, too serious, too dumb, too smart. You could be the juiciest, ripest, sweetest mango in the world, and you’ll still meet someone who just doesn’t like mangoes. And yet, if you try to round out all your edges, you’ll lose all your edge. So right now, I’m focusing on apologizing for the mistakes I make, and apologizing profusely when I unintentionally hurt someone, but I refuse to apologize for being myself. That’s nothing to be sorry about, especially if it’s because I’m too much for you. And while I’m being and doing the most, I’ll be sure to enjoy myself.
The world is full of beautiful, loving, generous, compassionate, intelligent, creative and expressive people. The world is also full of evil, messy, selfish, bitter, hurtful, trifling and purposeless people. Know the difference between the two when they cross your path, and know that you don’t owe either of them any amount of love or hate. Acknowledge them and decide whether you should move on alone or take them with you (beware: meeting the first kind of person doesn’t mean the rest will be as kind, and meeting the second type of person doesn’t mean the rest will be as cruel). Luckily, you have an infinite number of soul mates that you can meet in an infinite amount of ways (you can’t bind God), and the best part is that love will never run out on you, even when it seems to run dry. This is power.
It’s a difficult thing to conceptually grasp (like the particles of a perfume after they have already mixed with the air). One doesn’t just wake up a queen. Your crown has to be forged over years, hard-won victories where you have claimed your worth against all odds splattering over its’ jewels, leaving it blood-spattered and chipped and scratched and more valuable than ever.
Think about it… A queen doesn’t allow just anyone into her presence, let alone allow them to kiss her hand (the people around you must be worth). She has to hold her neck steady so her crown never slips (even on your bad days, you hold your head up). There are rules to her kingdom–break them, and you’re executed (you’re not afraid to cut people off). Her advisors never critique her, only the areas she has managed to overlook (taking advice only makes you stronger). And even after her scepter is put away in the closet, her jewels are safely locked in a vault, her crown is resting on her dresser, and her makeup and clothes have been whisked away, she is still a queen (nothing makes you a queen, except you).
Out of all of these, the hardest one is cutting people off. Everything else on the list depends on you: being malleable enough to take and adhere to good advice, maintaining your self-worth, staying in the right environment, etc. It’s crazy because we are able to make so many excuses for other people that would never fool us; and yet, there we find ourselves, lying in our beds praying that the same person won’t do the same thing to you that they just did again in the same way.
The worst part is that we believe us.
Try saying this to yourself the next time (or before the next time) someone who you know 9 times out of 10 will cause you harm (it’s always the 1 time that we fight for):
I will rise above and beyond you until I am a speck in your sky. You will try to use me to light your path like a star at night, but what you don’t understand is that I am an entire constellation. When you do catch a glimpse of me, you in your ignorance will think that you know me. In reality, you are only seeing my back as I walk further away from you.
Now tell me that ain’t what a queen would do…
It’s easy to think that you’ve already peaked once you get into your twenties, especially when you’ve done a lot in high school or college; your past usually starts to look more attractive the further you get away from it.
My struggle was not letting what I’ve already done become all that I am. There is so much more to life than those big, big moments of success. When you think about it, those moments are built over weeks, months, sometimes even years. That’s why we have to show up for every day.
It’s like how they say character is what you do when no one is watching—life is what we experience when we aren’t getting recognized for anything: how we forgive ourselves and others, treat the people who have little to no power over us, choose to have hope despite our current circumstances, etc.
The bottom line is that our lives aren’t determined by any one thing that’s already happened, good or bad. What we do today counts towards the total of who we are, regardless of who’s watching us at any given moment. 🌻
I am a survivor of sexual assault. It took me a decade to find the right words to describe what happened, but there they are. And I’m not ashamed, I’m not at fault, I do not carry any guilt—I’m not even a victim. I am a survivor. I took these pictures to capture my emotions, my mindsets and how I felt through the years of dealing with this experience. Many, many, many nights I have considered committing suicide, but I have decided that I have more things to live for, than to die for. 🌻 And you do, too. If your gut is telling you to reach out to someone, then reach them. And if someone finally reaches out to you, then be reachable. We can get through this life fine, we just have to do it together. 💞