Until I can be kind to myself

A poem by Sanisha Wynter


I am more delicate than I seem,

My heart bruises far easier than my skin.

The strong black woman you expect me to be.

I am not.

Words I tell myself,

distort my self image

I look in the mirror,

I no longer see the beauty within.

I do not recognise myself.

Is that me?

It couldn't be.

I am ugly, stupid.

Worthless and nothing.

My emotions are overwhelming,

drowning me.

Doctors say Borderline Personality Disorder,

cruel people say “attention seeker.”

But I'm not.

We are not all nurtured the same,

it comes natural to me to love others more, than I love myself.

To place them on a pedestal,

and me at their feet.

Growing up,

the warm embraces that should have coddled me,

felt cold, wooden and superficial.

To try to embrace myself now my arms don't quite reach around

I don't know how.

To love myself is incomprehensible.

I harm myself far worse than what you can do to me.

Do your worst and I'll dissociate,

like a subdued prisoner dreaming of life free from the cage.

I'll leave my body for your violation,

and be locked inside my own mind.

A frightening place.

I'm not safe.

There's something else inside here.

A voice that taunts me into recklessness,

chases me relentlessly to the edge of a cliff,

One misstep and I will fall.

Every day it's a battle to not succumb,

to jump,

to give up.

Free falling in the air,

Limbs flailing as I descend.

Will I feel a moment's peace then?

I always step back,

dragging myself away from the darkness.

I don't ever want to lose the light,

that I know burns within.

I save myself.

Like a Phoenix,

my beauty comes out of ashes.

And for a moment I'm proud.

Be kind to yourself they say,

and I am trying,

but there's a child in my head,

and she won't stop crying.

Take your time with me,

Don't judge me by my skin,

age,

gender

or sexuality.

Treat me like a precious stone,

instead of a fragile shard of glass.

Or watch me shatter into a thousand pieces.

and I can't glue myself back together.

Help me,

cry with me,

laugh with me.

hold me.

Until I'm present,

in your presence.

When I meet your gaze,

and you see the pain inside me evaporate and mist away.

Until the voice inside is barely a whisper.

and the weeping child is soothed.

For a while.

Can you be kind to me?

At least, until I can be kind to myself?


Sanisha Wynter is a member of the Speakers Collective specialising on Mental Health, Bordeline Personality Disorder, Depression, Diversity and Inclusion, LGBT+ and Disability Accessibility. Find out more about Sanisha here and details below on how to book her for your next event.


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The Speakers Collective is a Social Enterprise. We work together with a shared commitment to challenge stigma, facilitate important conversations and promote learning on a variety of social issues. If you are looking for a speaker for an upcoming event then please do get in contact with Jo at info@speakerscollective.org.

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