There once was a young boy with a very bad temper. The boy’s father wanted to teach him a lesson, so he gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper he must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.
On the first day of this lesson, the little boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. He was really mad!
Over the course of the next few weeks, the little boy began to control his temper, so the number of nails that were hammered into the fence dramatically decreased.
It wasn’t long before the little boy discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Then, the day finally came when the little boy didn’t lose his temper even once, and he became so proud of himself, he couldn’t wait to tell his father.
Pleased, his father suggested that he now pull out one nail for each day that he could hold his temper.
Several weeks went by and the day finally came when the young boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
Very gently, the father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
“You have done very well, my son,” he smiled, “but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”
The little boy listened carefully as his father continued to speak.
“When you say things in anger, they leave permanent scars just like these. And no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds will still be there.”
“I don’t trust anyone, because the trust I’ve given them has always been abused. It never fails to disappoint me.”
no one ever congratulates you
for doing the really difficult things
like driving on the freeway or getting out of bed or
every friendship you make is a countdown
to the moment
when they finally can’t deal
with the missed calls and canceled hangouts
every friendship is on a timer
every friendship expires sooner,
you hear phrases like “bootstraps”
over and over
until you wish you had some to hang
you have to learn to simultaneously
relax your muscles
and move them with determination
you have to be in control
and you have to let go
at the same time
it’s enough to drive you into
a blubbering mess
music is a conduit
crying is a conduit
your dad calling is a conduit
everything becomes a conduit
for either having or not having another panic attack
you learn to stop making plans
because you’ll either disappoint yourself
or someone you care about or both
you accept all of it
you hope someday everyone else can
accept it too
“Sweet lady,” he said, “no victory is half so beautiful as you.”
George R. R. Martin
Pars pro toto principle (Latin, “a part for the whole”) is the concept of giving up a part in order to save the whole. Examples include lizards detaching their tails when attacked by predators, finger sacrifices, people giving up their valuables at knife point, and kamikaze pilots giving up their lives for their country. An example is Aron Ralston, who cut off his arm to free himself from being pinned under a boulder.
I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.
And I will not be afraid
of your scars.
I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.