I just ran across the last few lines of a poem (by Warsan Shire, a 24-year old Somali poet) that has been trending recently on Facebook. The last lines really spoke to me, so I decided to look up the whole poem. Here it is:
"you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.” - Warsan Shire
And where the last few lines spoke to me, the rest of the poem screamed at me and tore my insecurities from my heart and laid them bare.
It’s rare that words so perfectly capture a feeling in such a way that they scratch the itch of my soul, leaving behind such a resolute feeling of satisfaction, an “ah, that’s better” feeling that only the best art evokes in me.
Basically, I love this poem. It illustrates how I view myself and the strong, bold women I admire. It reminds me of the many men I have loved or tried to love and who tried to love me back, but couldn’t accept my boldness, my quirks, my needs, and my wants.
It reminds me that I have these impossible demands to be impossibly close and vastly separate all at once. People need to be virtually clairvoyant to know that I am terrible at asking for help, so when I do ask for it, I really f%cking NEED it (and woe is he who refuses to help or asks, “have you tried _______?” instead of just helping). My need to be strong and independent but comfortably vulnerable is balanced on a razor’s edge and it is only the acrobat of a person who can delicately walk the line.
Because of this, I’ve always felt difficult to love. I struggle with feelings of being too ________. (fill in the blank with every personality trait I have).
I know nothing worth doing is easy and no one worth loving is simple. And so the words in this poem bolster me and remind me that it’s okay to be difficult to love, because when someone manages it, it’s magical. For that, I’m incredibly grateful for my husband, friends, and family who take the time, effort, and energy required to love me. I am honored they have chosen to do so. I love their difficult natures, too.
Thank you for loving difficult me, difficult you.