by Zahra Khozema, Storyteller for RU Student Life
I woke up feeling a little romantic today. After twitching my fingers and before opening my eyes, I caressed the flesh inside my shirt and hugged my central being leaving hickeys the size of my palms behind. I am real and this is a new day. Goosebumps, which warn the body of a winter, always feel like fireworks on my skin. It’s like looking at the sunset and knowing this moment, if taken advantage of, could be a great picture.
This, this called for words.
I waited years and years for an old school love letter piled with poetry to end up in my mailbox like the movies. What I got instead were grammarless texts along the lines of “what r u wearing?” and “ur place or mine?” in my DMs. But life has taught me if I want something done right, I need to do it myself.
However, if that’s hard to believe, in response to Justin Bieber, “‘Cause if you like the way you look that much, oh baby, you should go and love yourself”.
And therefore today, I have blurred the lines of selfish love and self-care.
My sweet sweet Zahra, you are 20, and you are scared. You are so full of something, so full of everything that has made you stronger and a source of light for yourself.
So baby, go ahead, pine after that one boy you never got to kiss but stop trying to remember his face. If he wanted this too, he would have left a map behind.
My love, put that essay off to last minute but know that chronic panic is not a natural state.
Honey, the becoming man in your post-colonial literature class will never look at you, but that shouldn’t stop you from admiring him.
This morning, when you woke up with the smudged version of your Catwoman eyeliner all over your cheek, you took a selfie to capture the happiness of the night before, not wanting to let go. Do that more often.
Your memories are not glass shards in your hands, they are crystals, they will only cut if you press too hard.
Listen, there are so many places you’ve flagged on your map, everywhere is waiting for you.
The things you write are soft even when you tear through the sheet behind in the heat, this is not a weakness.
One day you will have a little girl, I need you to teach her to cradle her own heart the way you’re learning to cradle yours.
You were so young when you learned to be afraid, she is still there, find her, friend her.
Someday summer will be sweet again, like it always has.
I probably don’t say this enough, or ever, but I love you.
PS: Write me back on mornings like this. I’ll wait.
Write your own to yourself, mail it in waits of a rainy day or hide it in your underwear drawer if you have to. Nobody knows you like you do.