words of affirmation

Dea Yu

1.
often i think of prying the words out of my throat and presenting them to you in a gift wrapped box or
tracing shapes into your back until every one of my emotions is absorbed into your skin i dream of
staring at you from above and letting the salt drip from my eyes into yours until you nod in
understanding and hold me
and everything can be okay

1.5.
i want to open my skull scalpel on skin and
unravel my brain like yarn
searching for yearning
finding the flaws
removing the impurities
does it feel better to have every nerve laid out on the metal table?
is it cathartic to have definitive proof of your existence?
to at least know that you feel
even without knowing why?
does it satisfy some primal urge;
does it make you feel like there’s meaning to the order and organization in the neat little pile of nothing and everything
that is folded and labeled and placed back in your head with a few stitches and a kiss or was it all for nothing?

2.
my heart is lost in translation and my limbs refuse to respond to the commands of my mind
my throat burns with sticky desire lining my windpipe
i swallow
and feel it drip into my stomach in a sugary mess
i want everything to be okay

3.
love is hard work and i am spoiled
but for you i toil away with dirt under my nails and aches through my body
i hope everything will be okay

words of affirmation, a reference to one of five love languages, explores themes of self-expression, love, and the challenge that comes with articulating your emotions in words. Each stanza seeks to represent the emotional turmoil that comes with having words trapped within yourself, and the second in particular puts a focus on the feeling of frustration and a desperate wish to make sense of it all in an unequivocal, scientific manner. The flowing contrast of carefully curated words and an increasingly turbulent stream of questions attempts to capture moments of guilt and vulnerability that are inevitable before change. 

As our minds become cluttered with complex information and sensations that develop faster than we can understand, I have found myself struggling to express myself in tangible language – a sentiment I’ve found is shared by many. Attempts to represent these feelings on paper or in other forms of release add to a growing sentiment of helplessness, as the distance between myself and an answer to my confusion seems to grow infinitely larger. However, in this crucial fraction of our lives where we seek to understand ourselves and how to find our place in an increasingly convoluted world, it is important to confront these internal conflicts and, if not resolve them, at least come to peace with them. This becomes especially vital when finding people you love. On my own, I realized it’s easy to fall into patterns of self-deprecation without any motivation to create change, but others are oblivious to invisible thoughts, and it’s becoming clear to me that a translation of my mind into comprehensible communication is vital to being a good person, friend, and lover. Though this is an undeniably difficult process, the simple act of revealing myself through this piece is a step out of my comfort zone that hopefully marks the start of a process to becoming a better version of myself.

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