there is someone
i have been avoiding
someone who creeps in
to claw at my sense of certainty

if you have ever had someone close to you
turn on you
you know the feeling
when the flicker in their eyes
that used to be love so bright
turns to hate
an unmistakable disdain

there are times i have felt
deserving of this
my shame reflected
in the eyes of another
but there are mostly times
i still wonder about
i wonder what went wrong
and i remember people saying
things to comfort me
like…

“never take anything personally”
“nothing other people do is about you”

but here is what i want to add
here is what helped me
and it is a small but significant caveat

i think that
if things keep blowing up around you
it really might be personal to you

so maybe instead of being quick
to bypass the discomfort
by soothing yourself with
“it’s not personal”

you pause
and reflect

because the danger i see
in these sayings
in these spiritual teachings
is that if you jump too quickly from hurt to
“it’s not me, it’s you”
we might miss
key pieces
that are running the show
in ways we don’t want it to go

so while i agree
it is often not about you
and i agree it is ideal to
not take things personally

if 20 of your closest friends
think you are an a**hole
maybe
just maybe
you need to look at you

really, maybe it is time
you took some things
personally

this is what i had to face in me
the places where i dismissed
the consistency of an experience with
“it is not personal,
it’s their stuff, not me”

because it was me
no, not in the way
they might think
this is not a confirmation
of their hateful perceptions

this is an owning of my knowing
that i messed up
really bad
more than once

but what they don’t know
is the place i was coming from

we tend to think
we can interpret others accurately
from our twisted psyches
we get righteous
and indignant
self important
and hurl words like daggers
loaded with unfounded assumptions
at each other
as if we are the authority
on why people do what they do

don’t worry, i get it
i am that arrogant too

this has been 6 years
of eating a ton
of humble pie

there were a hundred times,
i thought i would die
from the pain
but i didn’t
not even close
i beat my demons
in a way i didn’t know one could

so i come full circle
and know for certain this time
it’s not me, it’s you

be willing to take feedback
even the unspoken feedback
that looks more like everything breaking
even the feedback
that feels uncomfortable and confused

because that is often where the magic is
in the places we don’t want to look
in the conversations we don’t want to have
in the recognizing that we are no longer living
in a way that feels true

and then also please remember
not to take it personally
because while you may have done
some things that are not so good
you are inherently good
and deserving of love too

❤️emily joy rosen

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