A Letter to Myself

What they won’t tell you in the history books about protesting, about wars:

As a civilian you will be stranded. You’ll feel frozen and guilt ridden, 

tongue bitten. 

They won’t tell you how paralyzed you’ll be, safety was never a guarantee.

One day you will forget Russia’s waging war and then spend the rest of the day shocked that you could forget at all.

You will feel small, and insignificant.

What they won’t tell you in the history books is that when you turn on the tv

the news will never not be breaking.

It will make your stomach drop

With crazy crimes and wild times

It will never stop.

What they won’t tell you in the history books, about protesting, about wars:

You won’t fixate on the trauma that is sure to follow you. War won’t hold your attention but it will eat at you, like a cancer, like a weed.

You will focus on getting to class. Try not to be late.

You will focus on moving forward because god forbid you sit and contemplate. You will focus on the person you want to date.

Anything as a distraction 

that this world could keep from action.

But something will be your breaking point, 

You will get halfway through the final episode of your favorite show but now your phone will be dying and you will be crying. And everything in your universe could come crashing down. 

And you just might drown.

All of it at once, all of it.

These papers and pieces and bookmarks and burdens will fall in your lap

“You’re so selfish, you only looked in the mirror today.”

Your mind will say,

On rewind. 

Because there are people leaving their homes before the bombs catch up to them. Raining down heavy, so much bigger than hail, yet another tear-stricken trail.

They won’t tell you in these history books about protesting, where police would beat you with batons.

Your elderly neighbor,

They would have beat him too, pushed him onto the concrete and kept walking when the blood leaked out. Pools in the street, in the dirt. Keep talking while your head is still spinning.

The camera will pan away, and you will never know if that man on TV got medical attention.

In the history books they don’t tell you how that image will never leave. Full color, front page, no one told you a mind can become photographic for just one scene, surreal like a dream. You won’t have energy left to scream.

This war will invade your daily life,

Even when the war sounds are far away.

Ukrainian faces will fill your feed. Without laughter, without lively tik tok dance. Tik tok went the bomb’s clock. They are now sobbing.

The only caption will be “we are hiding in the subways.”

A reporter will inform you of the town preparing to be bulldozed. They build sculptures of twisted metal that seemed so beautiful until you realized they were made to slow down tanks.

Hope is paid for in dead soldiers. 

New newsbreak: Russian battleship promoted to submarine.

Breaking news: news is still broken. Evidence found that civilians were tortured. Experts say they are still excavating bodies. 

Latest headline: shoe found amongst the rubble, it’s vintage! Has anyone seen it’s double? Cinderella was found dead in a subway. 

Some advice for you, my dear, you will make it. 

Find something to care about, let it wrap its weary arms around you, whatever thing that may be. 

Listen to music and sing to hear your own voice, run to escape and to refind joy, hug your friend when your phone dies. 

It will be difficult, but you will make it.

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