The Anthology 
Kindred





Where the fear comes from


By JuCoby Johnson



I am trying to love myself more
And it’s harder than I thought

There are people in my life
Who tell me I’m worthy of love
And I believe them
Up to a point
The point where I look in the mirror
Or make a joke nobody laughs at
Or make a mess of the love I’ve been given

Those moments amplify
And replay in my mind like B-roll of a bad film
But, I’m trying to love myself more
Because I love the world
Even when I hate the world
And the world hates me
I love the world
And because I am a part of the world
I am trying to love myself more

Because I have been loved in my life
Lovers have whispered in my ear
“I love you”
In the night
They have held my hand
In the dark
They have kissed my lips
In the rain

And I have thought to myself
“I wish I loved me the way you love me”

So, I’m trying to love myself more
So that I can love someone else
Without fear that their love might fade
Without fear that someone will love them more
Without fear that my love isn’t big enough
Or deep enough

Or real enough
I want to love all the way
Without half-measures
Or conditions
Or lies so big
That the wall between us
Can never be broken down
Or leapt over

I’m trying to love myself more
Because my country does not
And my people do
But with conditions
And my family does
But we don’t discuss it
And God does
But there are too many to pin down which one
And I want my thoughts to be my own
And I want to want things
And I want to dream in color
And I want to feel real
And I want to stand tall
And I want to hear “I love you”
And believe it
Fully
And I want my soul to burst open
And I want to show you what’s inside
And know
That I exist
I’m trying to love myself more
And it’s harder than I thought