i have more than once
given my heart
to men who didn’t want it

i have more than once
felt the sting of rejection
as my desperation
met cold

and still
i wouldn’t change
the ensuing
horrors i lived
from hurling
my heart
at doors closed
because i am proud
of who i became
through it all

and proud
isn’t something
i’ve ever really been

i’ve had impostor syndrome
since i can remember
receiving praise
that never felt deserved
because i never knew for sure
what earned it
because i always knew the dark places
i went when alone
so i was mostly certain
i was a fraud
i have been almost positive
i’m a scam of a human
who will at least keep efforting
keep striving and driving
till revealed

but now
i feel differently

now i feel
deserving of praise
because i worked hard
and not in the ways
i normally do
building businesses
making art
getting another degree
or taking on more people
as my responsibility

i worked hard
on the inside
work i thought i did before
but i wasn’t actually getting it
i didn’t actually comprehend
what it meant
to do work on self
i pretty much thought it was learning
the demeanor, etiquette, language
ya know, the manners of a good person
and then behaving in that way
in a good way
such that i would know
i was good

and so every time
the world said no
or someone i loved
said no
i do not like what you are doing
i do not like how you are being
i do not want to be with you
i do not want you
i would collapse completely
the air so swiftly knocked out of me
i wasn’t sure i could make it through
i wasn’t sure i wanted to
the pain so real
so very intense for me
because not only did i hear
you are not wanted
i also heard
you are not good

which definitely meant to me
i failed at life, at life i was failing miserably

but there is something magical
that can happen
when you live through
what you didn’t think you would live through

and there is something profound
that can happen
when the person you want most
the person you want to want you most
doesn’t want you
doesn’t choose you

you have to
you have to choose you
you have to choose yourself
or check out
and while checking out
seems like an option for many
i am wired to fight not flee
i am designed to grind not freeze
more likely to die trying
than peacefully

i finally faced
the war on the inside

and it’s been
a beautifully brutal battle
that i’m getting is never truly over
but we have have covered
some serious ground
me and me
we have traversed some
supremely merciless battlefields
somewhat gracefully
but most importantly

and i feel good
about that
i feel like i did good
i am good

that his no
became my yes

his no to me
became my yes to me

yes funny
or is that irony
or is that how it is meant to be
i can never tell

i just know
i finally feel proud
in a way no one
can take from me

❤️ emily joy rosen

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