Juniper at Midnight

It is moments like this, watching the stars wink out like flashlights, leaving us in the dark, that I wonder why bad things happen.

Why do people feel like they’re not worth a body, a soul? Why do people feel like they will never be loved, like they need to go home in the middle of the night because they’re scared of themselves? Why do people feel like their body is a burden because of someone else?

If you weren’t worth being alive, the universe wouldn’t have spent so much time creating you. Our bones, our skin, and all our dark matter come from a giant explosion of a dying star millions and billions of years ago. This star’s particles became us, became people and people became beautiful creatures called poets and writers that looked at the world and said, “why do they not see the stars in the sky?”

Why do we not see these?

What happened along the way to us? Over time, the world slowly lost sight of all the beautiful materials in every single person, all from the same source, same God or Force or whatever the hell you want to call it. Our world is changing so much that it’s hard to look at everything at once, and because of this we see the stars slowly fading, flashlights, flashlights. Celestial bodies have become broken bodies, broken minds, things that we can discard at our leisure.

We’re bad with waste, humans.

We have polluted our planet, knocked it out with chemicals and cut off its limbs, filled its malnourished belly with emptiness, but we have done the same to the people on this planet too. We have thrown people away as not worth it. We have all seen someone on the street and turned away. We have all teased someone, all hurt someone. Some of us may have done worse. In taking away the stars in the sky, our planet has become a dark place to be. The night goes on and on and sometimes we may just think we’ll never see the light again, never watch the sun float up into the sky like a yolk and spill down the sky until it bleeds beautiful. We have all created the vicious cycle in which we hurt people, and hurt those people more when they are driven to hurt other people, and hurting and hurting and hurting. The night goes on.

When I meet people like I have this past week, I am reminded that the stars have not gone away. They are still inside us, breathing and glowing and spilling out of our mouths, so warm that you sometimes feel like your tongue will scald if you say what you need to. There is darkness around our stars, sometimes overwhelmingly so, but there is always that little bright light to guide us. There is always that beautifulness that shines out of you wherever you go, no matter what your face tells you. It is only a matter of finding someone who can see it. Humans have trouble seeing things like these, so when you find the person who does, keep them. Keep them with you as long as you can, forever if possible.

One of my favorite teachers once told me that humans are wanting creatures. Well, I am a human, and I want: I want to stay up all night and trace your outlines into constellations because we belong in the skies. I want to open the window and shout I Love You to the night until you can hear it in your chest. I want to take everything that is weighing you down and fling it across the world, out into the atmosphere where a black hole can suck it up like it’s absolutely nothing at all. There is no galaxy brighter than ours, no universe bigger. It is because we are broken that we make the jagged constellations; no pictures are made when stars align. When we are jagged, we make stories of great, swift hunters, of strong princesses, of fantastical animals and glorious people like the Ancient Greeks did.

In New York I saw a sign that said Stories. Everywhere. On the internet I have seen some that said God Hates You. It is because of this latter category that we need the former, that we need the stories that are happening all over the place. This week, I shared a piece that made someone tell me I was incredible, that I was gifted. I was so shocked that all I could do was say Thank You, Thank You. There is such a stigma around loving oneself nowadays, of even showing a bit of pride in one’s work. I have become humble to the extent of sometimes shaming or putting down myself, as most of you probably have. Society has taught us not to see the stars in us, because the people who see them are too genuine, too bright. Well, I’m done with pretending we’re not good enough because I’m shining light in someone else’s eyes. Let them adjust, because we could use some light around here.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been attracted to stories. I went from small little notebooks to Word documents to Google Drive docs. I never believed I could write a novel, and I did that (first draft, don’t freak). I never believed I could write poetry, and I did that this week pretty much every day. I never even thought it was possible there were people like me, that I was good enough to get here. I found that submerging your hopes under the cool waters of indifference made it easier, even if I was suffocating. Even now when people ask what I want to do with my life I’m too afraid to say I’m a writer, because the world means money and profit and supporting a family one day. Now I know I can never make that mistake again, because throughout my life I have been one. I wrote a ton of bad shit, sure, but that was how I got better. Isn’t it funny how that works? It’s like clearing all the awful out of the way makes the path clearer, the sky brighter. It’s like getting rid of the light pollution and finding the sky is practically alive on its own.

So I think that I know why bad things happen. I think they happen because they are the only way that we can know what is good. I think they happen because it is the only way for us to find others around us who help us remember where the stars are. I think they happen because it’s meant to, because it’s about damn time we saw the sun again.



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