her voice


i don’t know how to be tender

i haven’t seen it up close

i haven’t seen it in me

i want to be tender

im brutal

im cutting

im a force

i am really good at punishing myself

but i don’t know how to be tender

how to be gentle

when i am wounded

when i am wounding

when i've stricken myself

before, during or after

i haven’t healed myself

healing through tenderness

always has been physical

the way someone touches me

the way someone talks to me

receiver of tenderness

an awkward giver

and an empty bank of tenderness for myself

i don’t know how to start

i don’t know what it really is

i know when i see it

but i don’t see it in myself

is it, worthiness

is it enoughness

is it comfort in being and unfolding to myself

and removing the judgement on whether i deserve it or not

i think it's stillness

i think it's writing

i think it's grace

grace first

acceptance first 

open first




am i worthy of tenderness?

perhaps it’s a question i need to stop asking

perhaps tenderness is given without criteria

without limit

without judgement

without preference

it's given

like air

and breathe

and the flow of water

it is

and being here

means it’s for you

tenderness is quiet







thank you for modeling tenderness

so i can get a glimpse of what it looks like

but change my view of what it could be

it's not intimate moments, thoughtful touches, well timed moments of care

it's stillness, peace, grace, forgiveness

it's being open and available

it's being a little kinder, a little easier on you

it's a slowing down and clearing out

it's available

it's yours

you are worthy of tenderness