Of Land and Roots and Belonging / by Rebecca Tillett

I’m starting to love my body.
Maybe, I’ve just stopped hating it. Maybe.
The absence of hate does not mean an abundance of love.
The absence of sadness does not mean an abundance of happiness.
Nothing good without work should be anticipated.
That which arrives without it should be savored.
We shouldn’t need to be reminded to feel gratitude.
I will no longer weep for the form I was given.
I will no longer reserve space for that distress.

Sometimes I feel physically ill from the memory
of what I left behind and the way that I left it.
I am not capable of the acts I committed, the desperation I induced.
I am that woman now, capable of such things.
How long am I allowed to toil in heartache
for the woman I can never again claim to be?
Sometimes I grit my teeth so hard my jaw aches.
I wake up often that way.
Feels like every unbearable tension,
climbing every root of every molar battling for dominance.

I don’t wanna be here anymore, but I also don’t wanna leave.
Do you ever feel that way? Like an orphan of territory?
Of land and roots and belonging?

I feel like my entire life has been a festering dull ache
of not belonging to anyone, or anything, or anywhere.
Will this ever ebb?
I’ve conquered so much but I can’t conquer this.