A Love Letter to Myself

by Assia Messaoudi // from issue 3. Vol. 2 // Web Exclusive

i fell in love with you on the tracks  
right as the train was barrelling down them 
i couldn't hear it over my beating heart 

these days i send you telegrams 
i send you eviction notices 
i send you paper with absolutely nothing written on it 
and you rip up the pages 
i send you stop signs  
and you cross out the word 
i send you just about everything  
to keep you occupied  
just so you don't have time to think about the emptiness 
it lurks deep in your chest 
living in a home where it doesn't pay rent  
but you keep ripping up the eviction notices 

they say it's detrimental to fall in love with a feeling  
but they don't know how beautiful it is to fall in love with a feeling  
when these days you can't feel anything at all 

 so take your 60 gram medications 
that made me gain 60 pounds  
take your side effects  
that wreak havoc on my body 
i wanted to swim but they made me drown 
take back your signs that say "love yourself" 
with the asterisk at the bottom 
telling us to only love ourselves when you approve of who we are 

 we poured out on to the streets with metal pans 
banging them against each other for years  
to overpower the voices in our heads 
that tell us we aren't good enough  
but now these voices are people  
sitting across from us  
with prescription pads and 
a look of sympathy in their eyes 

 you might never understand this 
but i don't know how to live  
without that emptiness  
that lives deep inside my chest  

i treat it like an old favourite sweater 
it's ripped and stained 
so i donate to my nearest thrift store 
i go back two weeks later 
and it's still there 
i understand 

 it beckons me like an old friend  
i pick it up and buy it again 


Assia Messaoudi is a poet and prose writer working towards a degree in English and Professional Writing and Communication. She is an advocate for causes that are important to her, such as curing cancer and ending the stigma against mental health. After completing her undergraduate degree, Assia hopes to pursue a masters degree in Social Work. You can read more about Assia at assiamessaoudi.com