Lessons from my dried skin and boiling water

Winter…. Is awful

I spend five months (give or take) a year

Every year suffering

In the cold

And the wind

And the frigid expanse of dim lighting

And depressed employees

All for what?

What is the reason?

All for dried skin and cracked lips

From the wind perhaps

But why is it so dry

In my apartment

In the office

Anywhere that snow hasn’t collected?

And the air is brutal.

But today I looked in the mirror and hated the reflection

Which isn’t something new

But it was disappointing nonetheless

The dried skin peeling on the brim of my nose and the crease where it meets with my cheeks.

The cracked and bloodied seams on my lips and how I love to purse them to feel the unfamiliar crunch

Is this who I am now?

I spent the day wondering who I’ve become and what’s to be done about it

As if when spring finally returns I will still remain exactly this way

Dry bones

And bloody tongue

And peeling all over

But I am here now

At 2AM on a Tuesday night

Standing naked in the dark

Above a pot of boiling water

Letting the fumes hit my face and hoping I can take something away from this.

The oils I rubbed on my skin

And the minerals

And all the creams that never really did work

But the dermatologist said they might help

As if anyone ever really helps

But it was over this pot of boiling water

With the smell of almond extract and allspice suspended in the air

That I realized my mistake,

This cracked and dried canvas

Gleaming in the stove light from the collection of products I have baptized myself in.

Was never really fixable

Because it was never really broken

I am not broken

I am human

I have skin that changes with the seasons

And heals on its own time

Just like my heart

It heals at its own time

And I am learning to call it worthy

And I am learning to call myself beauty

Or at least I will start with normal

and I am learning to love myself

For all the people that weren’t able to

For all the people I wish could be here

Watching the bubbles vigorously roll in the boiling pot,

I think of all the times I let myself down

And vow to never open those old scars

For just because the scar is there now

Does not mean the blood isn’t waiting to be set free

And I realize the person I was most afraid of all these years was myself

That the cracks on my lips, and my nose, and my cheeks

Are not ugly

Or broken

Or mean that I am weak

You see they are part of the story

Or the painting

Or the rambling poem

Spinning off into the sunrise

That I have learned to call myself

And that is the lesson I learned today

From my dried skin peeling

Over a pot of boiling water at 2 AM

I learned to be myself

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