My grandmother taught herself to fall in love by sprinkling
a circle of salt around her ankles every morning in order to learn
what it feels like to be surrounded by bruises.
I taught myself to fall in love with alcohol and a ring of birth control pills.
My mother still frosts the mirror with her years-old wedding dress
in hopes that the old memories will somehow translate into the new;
I still keep the key to the house of the first man I ever fell for
inside my back left dresser drawer
in hopes that one day he’ll give me a reason to slide it through the door.
My aunt hides a stash of her bloody baby teeth, guards it with her life,
and places one inside the pillow of every man she ever sleeps with
so he’ll equate some magic from his childhood
with the way her body felt beneath his own.
And me, I do the same with scars,
except I leave them in all the public places on my skin
so someone else can learn to fall in love with the way
I feel pain in private.
I learned how to fall in love from several generations of women,
women whose hearts were less heart and more broken work of art,
and that’s probably why it’s so hard for me
to fall for someone who doesn’t hurt to touch.
Two months into our relationship you once asked me how much I loved you and I just said “From here”. You didn’t get it and you got mad and thought I was playing around.
Breaking up after almost two years together, I sent you a message 6 months later saying “To Here”.
You still didn’t get it.
this hit me hard
Remember one day your bed will no longer be your only home.
Remember one day you will love yourself completely, without bounds
or regrets, radically and with everything you have,
and yourself will love you back just as equally.
Remember one day you will stop wanting to crawl back into the womb
and start wanting to climb out into the belly of life,
as new and quiet as the day you were birthed.
Remember one day your spine will no longer be the only tool
that holds you up, but your entire mind as well.
Remember one day your fingertips will know what it feels like
to want to hold on instead of letting go,
your rock bottom will eventually bottom out and give way
to solid ground beneath; remember one day
you will stop feeling like a coward for struggling
to even breathe while everyone else takes gulps of air.
Remember one day you will no longer feel like an echo,
but more like a siren that sings loud and clear,
no longer feel like a gun is always pressed to your head,
but like a bullet that knows exactly where to aim.
Remember one day not every day
will be the worst day.
Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before