For Your Sake

tulips wait at rainy window
Photo by Jill Burrow on

I can take it. I can take all the hailstorms and the lightning and the caterpillars eating my leaves. I can prove it, I can be the softest, most emotionally vulnerable saint you have ever seen, I will care about every soul who crosses my path and hand out compliments and be kind to everyone.

I’m sorry, no you can’t, you are mortal, at some point you will close your petals because that’s what you have to do to protect yourself.

Letting a caterpillar eat you does nothing good for you, it just lets the caterpillar grow, then turn into a basic butterfly, who will lay more eggs to eat you even more.


At some point you will close your petals to keep yourself from drowning. At some point you will grow poison spines to keep the caterpillars away from you. At some point, you cannot take any more pain and will implode tragically upon yourself, leaving your heart in ruin.


I just pray, for your sake, you keep the seed of your flower alive, tucked in to your heart. You keep those hidden petals bright, you keep your hyacinth scent carefully soft. And if your flower implodes, believe that you can grow into life a new one. You can build yourself up from the soil, from your roots.

One day, I wish for you the stormless dawn. I wish all the butterflies gone. I hope you find the courage then, to withdraw your spines and shields and open into the sun. Announce to the world that you exist by your colors, by your perfume.

I wish you the courage to mourn for the years you lived in hiding. You did what you had to survive, and I don’t blame you, I don’t blame myself for those same years, but still–it aches, what could’ve been instead. You cowered in a bunker, while just over the ridges and rills whole rows or roses garnered the love of all the boys and pretty bees. You could’ve been famous to the people; instead you scraped by to survive.

I wish you the courage to love your tilted stems, your inexact petals, the scars the spines left across your leaves.

I wish you the tears to cry for loves that never were, friends that never came, sights you never saw, dreams you never drew.

I wish you the breathless take in your lungs, knowing you are years behind and quite possibly will never catch up.

I wish you the ache of existing entirely again.

I wish you the night when you spread yourself so wide you encapsulate the whole moon. You grew that grand, you did, bigger than the moon.

I wish you the ache of feeling whole again.


I know it’s hard, I know some days you want to just give up and die. I know, cowering in a shell and scraping by to survive, I know what it means to question why you are alive. Why not just let the caterpillars have at you, they’ve been trying for years and your poison’s running dry. Why keep fighting in pain, when you seem destined to lose this battle?

I know what it’s like to drown in sorrow. Sadness comes in waves; they say grief knocks you down, and you get back up, until a bigger wave comes and knocks you down again; but in my depression, I get no sensation like losing balance and slipping, thumping to the sand, cold water shocking all my senses alert. I get no impact, no icy crash.

There’s just me, down in the water, so cold I’m numb to even the cold, taking breaths when the water recedes, swallowing my aching lungs down when the water advances because the ache has nowhere else to go but deeper in me.

I know what it’s like to implode, metaphorically. I recoil from the terror inside my mind (I retreat to corners of my mind), the terror so vast and unconfrontable that my thoughts stutter themselves to pieces. “Heavnheavnheaheaheavnheavnheavnheavn–”

I know about unhealthy relationships to eating food but not realizing them until years later.

The self-implosion at the words “you think you can hurt me?” oh I know that too. See, I know when you say that, a piece of you really means “let’s have a competition, you and I, let’s see who can cut me deeper. I might be incompetent and useless at everything else in life, but in this contest of cutting me open, I will obliterate the competition. I will prove to both of us that I’m good at something.”

I know the desperate desire for something you do to mean something, to be the best at something so somebody takes notice.

I know about that.


That’s why I wish for you the power to blossom and ache on feeling whole again. 

I beg that day to come, someday, so the bunkers and the cowering and the painful survival and the terror mean something beautiful, epically powerful, world-saving; instead of just another day scraped by for the sake of not dying.

I yearn for you, for me, for us–our tulips must one day drink up the moon, otherwise why would we possess this instinct to bloom?

As for myself, I survive on the reminder that I am alive, that my sorrow can’t take this from me. (I am alive, in the water or under my poison spines or cowering in my mind.) My sorrow will still make me ache tomorrow, but I hope to keep taking the hurt as proof that I am living–even though last night, I wanted to give up and not exist anymore, rather than face the brutality of surviving any longer. I wanted to be anywhere away from the suffocation of caterpillars chewing my leaves and the sky drowning out my roots.

I face another brutal day, I face another wave of sadness covering me, I swallow the ache in my lungs that has nowhere else to go, and I wish on you the hope of holding the whole world in the embrace of your petals again.

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