For the first time in my life, I didn’t run away. I felt a knife pierce my heart, and in that moment, I chose to stay. I remember it all too clearly…my inner dialogue, arguing back and forth and then there it was, from deep inside my soul, stay.

Stay. It took about a while to really start feeling any…well, anything. And then I felt them come on all at once. My demons, whom I’d been running from my entire life. Whether it was through a new belief system, moving to another city, or traveling the world, almost every decision I had made until this point, came from a place of survival.

Stay. Over and over again I hear it, telling me to feel every single ounce of my pain, my trauma, those demons who’ve been following me my entire life. I felt abandonment, grief, humiliation, and depreciation. It swallowed me up like an animal, forcing me to set my soul on fire, over and over again. Because that’s it, isn’t it? The point of it all. We must be willing to shed our skin constantly, whether it’s humbling ourselves enough to take responsibility for the way we feel, the choices we made, or simply allowing our hearts to break wide open.

Stay. This process of dying again and again may look, and feel, like self-destruction. I believe that enlightenment, awareness, wisdom, whatever it is we’re looking for, is found inside our self-destruction. The challenge is to stay with it. Sitting with our demons is both the most difficult and most necessary thing we could ever do for ourselves. It’s also one of the boldest ways to show ourselves love. Let’s love ourselves enough to self-destruct, to sit with the feelings we most want to forget about.

Stay. Sometimes the hardest part is even admitting to ourselves that we need to set fire to our hearts. So I’ll start. I’m broken, shattered even. Right now, I vow to light myself up. The more times I recognize this and choose this fiery path, I see the parts of me that are truly me, will stay. This is the process of shedding old skin. What is truly a part of us, the things we really need and things that make us ‘us,’ will never leave. So, let’s burn it all up in the way of love. For love equals humanness and that is something I do not want to forsake.

Stay. Our demons will chase us until we acknowledge them. I thought I could run my past clean, but life keeps going. No matter how far away we run, life will keep going. What kind of life would it be to feel nothing? To hide away in constant fear of the things that make us human? It doesn’t matter how far we go or how long we’re gone, we simply cannot outrun our brokenness.

Stay. Let’s allow our shattered selves to be where they are. To stay. What a beautiful thing it is to self-destruct, no matter how loudly or quietly we choose. Break yourself open in order to let your light in. Your light. Not mine, not your partner’s, your very own. For the light that heals us, that allows us to stay in these moments that we so badly want to run away from, can come from one place alone. And that is ourselves.

Stay. I choose to stay from here on out. I will let life break me open to dig up all the barriers I’ve set for myself. I choose to look to myself for all of the love and acceptance I need. Lastly, I choose to love the shit out of myself, unconditionally. Whether I am collapsed on the floor crying or dancing on top of the world, I will love my demons, my brokenness, the wild, and extraordinary me… Stay.