After Toni Morrison’s quote from Beloved, “Anything Coming Back To Life Hurts” (A Poem to My Younger Self)

When you lose your footing in the
middle of war with your monsters
You will forget how to eat, sleep, shower,
Pray, and pull yourself up from bed

(you are worth rising for &
Your body will tell you otherwise)

If you name your monster
Thenitsreal:         Anxiety
Is what your therapist will call it
The ground will shake beneath you
Your  body will ache
Smoke will  rise from your lungs
You will feel  mango split open
When you find out you are
The  brigade you were waiting for.
Your mother will not gather you up
Your debris will leave a bruise.
Before the scraps become art
There are three ways to rebuild
After the wreckage:

1. Don’t pay attention to the smell
​& the scattered  parts of you
2. Frankenstein yourself back together
Starting with the small pieces
3. I know it hurts, but you will be ok

Repeat steps 1-3 when it happens
Again, as needed. The monsters
Live within  you.   They are like cicadas
Loud & return when it’s their  time.
It doesn’t get easier
you just get better at it. 

Chantel Massey is a poet, teaching artist, educator, and avid Anime lover from the Midwest. She is the author of Bursting At The Seams  (VK Press, 2018). Her work is forthcoming or appears in FAFCollective,  Turnpike Magazine , Indianapolis Contemporary, and other online and print publications coming elsewhere.  Her current focus is on human rights, confessional and emotional honesty about: womanhood, identity, sexuality, spirituality, and blackness. Additionally, Chantel is a board member for youth poetry organization, Word As Bond   and an editor for Sidepiece Magazine. By day she is a special education teacher providing an equitable education to little humans. You can catch her hosting every first Friday hosting Tea’s Me Cafe with poet, Eric Saunders.

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