don’t listen to them.
they will tell you a million things and grab onto whatever they can reach. they will pull on your skin until you begin to rip, until it is too late to go back and mend the damage, the shreds of you that you’ll never get back lost irreversibly to the ether. they will cloud your mind with useless advice, the kind of advice that could kill whatever spirit you may still have, even after all.
that’s the key: the spirit. know yourself. you cannot love someone you don’t know, not truly. this is the secret about loving yourself: it’s easy until you think about it. once you think about it, you’re lost. once you think about it, your world will crash until you are a ball of hatred in a well of darkness, and you will have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps just to survive.
but first, know yourself. learn more every day. pay attention; watch yourself eat and drink and run and talk and laugh and touch and glide like silver. learn your sadness and learn its weaknesses. find the things you know are strong and use them as battering rams. destroy your hatred from the inside, out.
it will not be a one-day kind of ordeal. you will not toss out the ink stains with the garbage one morning and dust your hands against each other to celebrate a job well done. these things take time. this is a purging, a catharsis of sorts. you must flush out the bad before the good will stick, and you must find a way to keep the bad out.
build walls out of organza so that the light can still get in. drape yourself in all the things you would like to keep, and stay awhile in this fortress you’ve created. play music and look into mirrors without that sneer on your lovely face. when you smile, look for joy, not beauty.
then the love will come. every day brighter, every day stronger, you will shine like a beacon. you will be gracious and joyful, but you must not forget your humble beginnings. once you forget, the darkness can creep back in. once you forget, your hard work will slip down drains, your glory will fade like old fabric, your love will shrivel and you will want to hide away in the most delicate corners of your self. once you forget, you will be nothing.