Guest Blog: Jillian

I hope some of these poems make sense to you. Who knows what will happen. I am excited/ nervous to share them. This is a reflection of a moment in my life.  

For context, my dad died on February 19th 2020. He was sick for a long time. I was able to be around him before he died, but my relationship with him was fraught with its own kind of difficulties. I like to paint, and after he died I decided to paint a portrait of him which I would finish by the one year anniversary; I saw it as an opportunity to work through some of my stuff with him. But as the anniversary drew near I could not bear to sit down with the painting at all. Honestly, I felt as if I was going mad. My mind was unsettled and anxious. Then something in me made me write and I found my heart pouring out of me along with my grief.

my body made me write

I had no choice

I wish anger was the first emotion
but my body always goes to hurt instead
my best friend says that’s good;
it means I am in touch with my feelings
but with anger there is fire

I think my hurt makes me weak

(to Dad)

I feel that you never showed me what it should look like. I
have been loved by many but regardless I always have too
much to give. When mum was so sacrificial for you I thought
that’s what love was

nobody wants my sacrifice

I know heartbreak so well. yet
somehow I always jump in just
as hard as the first time

but this time it’s different

I know that it would have hurt more if it had continued
but now that it’s over I only wish that I had let it continue
for more time

Because now I am grieving two deaths at once

I am used to the game of push and pull

I will stop that pattern
with you

We agreed to stop

And I will

How do I stop loving a person

how can I soften when the universe is hard
it is cruel
it gave me you
and gave me the means to push you away

as if I ever really had you

Part of the problem is that
I don’t want to give it to them.
When they actually want me
part of me believes
there must be something wrong with them

the hatred runs so deep

but then I think
how lucky am I
to have love within me
to know
that after everything I have experienced –
there is some part in there
which still
cares and

you are not
more advanced than me
because I still hurt over my past.
At least I am
aware of the ways in which
my traumas have shaped me and continue to shape me
as I weave through them every day

how dare you make me feel
as if the ways I have learned to survive
are something to be ashamed of

My ability to acknowledge my past and recognise its influence in my present is one of my greatest gifts. While I think you are wonderful and worthy of so much love, you cannot see me without first seeing that trauma is part of the tapestry. How can you see me without looking at that

It is woven into the core of my culture. My country was built on trauma. My life has been a journey of trauma and I am proud that I am still here standing on all of that. I dug my way through it all with fingernails and teeth.

And you have the audacity to look at the art of all of it when I show it to you
and tell me that
I shouldn’t let my past influence my present
that reactivity is how I will lose people

let me tell you
this is how you lose me

Some day
My heart will be the right degree of hard-soft
There will be just the right amount of scar tissue
and just the right amount of love
and I will feel my goldilocks moment
when finally I will be just right
for myself

My friendship with Jillian is one of those things that’s hard to explain. I have a couple of these treasured relationships that seem bizarre at first but makes complete sense. These are essential friendships that would not be considered traditional, but that are essential to me anyway.

We met in Cologne, Germany. She was living with my mum’s friend at the time we moved and displaced her. And as you would have it with all things in life, we didn’t meet as often as we should’ve. Our friendship was then forged in the digital space as we moved four countries between us over the last two years. She is a wonderful soul with a heart of gold. Her artistry never fails to blow my mind – be it her beautiful handwritten letters to me or her paintings and doodles, or even her poetry.

Here, you get to see EXACTLY what I mean by that. I hope you’ve enjoyed this selected masterpiece of art and poetry. Don’t forget to share, and show some love!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Lovely. Sad. Hopeful. It is a good balance.

    Liked by 1 person

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