Kaitlyn Boulding, "Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Up"
NOTE: Not a fan of the second to last stanza -- we see this extraneous preciousness far too much -- but you gotta hand it to a poet who gives credence to whacking off.
Questions to ask yourself before giving up:
Are you hydrated? When did you last glut your thirst with a handful of spring?
Have you eaten anything besides emails or your fingernails in the last three hours? Have you pulled the protein out of an oak tree or palmed an avocado pit this month? Are your forlorn probiotics
languishing on your butter shelf? Are you dressed? If so, does your skirt strike matches alight as you walk by? Can you melt it a little around your waist and ribcage? Are you resisting
a dream? Wrestling a dreamless night? Let yourself take a bath in your bed clothes for fifteen minutes, no pressure to fall asleep. But make sure to turn off all your beehives first. At least take them out of your bedroom.
Have you uncoiled the ropes of your legs and strung them along the length of the city today? Have you let a lake or a snow bank sketch silent letters on your back? When did you last give away
your unworn clothes, your well-fitting metaphors? Tell a neighbour or a person across the coffee shop counter how well they catch the light.
Have you snugged into a seedpod in the past couple days? Do you need a massage? Complete something
smaller than a lichen: return a library book, or a letter, or a look, or a relationship you regret. Sew a button on that’s come loose. Crack a window. Crack an egg.
Do you feel unattractive? Rub your skin with smooth stones or strong magnets. Wear sunglasses. Take your reflection in on the surface of a puddle.
Give yourself ten minutes. Give yourself ten years. Give yourself an orgasm. Give yourself a change of seasons. Give yourself a new lover. Give yourself a to-do list written with sidewalk chalk and hopscotch across it.
Have you been working really hard shovelling all the sidewalks of your friendships? Remember it takes time to recover from exertion, especially when you are a seedling.
Know that your friends want to send help. They want to send daffodils and their extra hands to braid your hair. They all want to be deciduous trees and long semi-coloned sentences for you. They want to.
Remember: you are a comma, one beloved earring, a house circled on a traveller’s map, sometimes misplaced, but never an imposition.
Everyone feels like a hallway at some point or another. But you are a room that people enter to stay.
I'm a writer and storyteller in Berkeley, CA. If you're wondering where that is, follow the smell of patchouli and skunkweed. There you'll find me with my kickass husband, gorgeous little boy, and manic Lab-Australian Shepherd mix pups. I'm represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co., but of course, my views are my own.