Can you miss someone you never really liked?

Can you miss someone you willingly let go of?

I always thought neither of these was possible…

Yet here I am, missing myself.

Here I am, missing an old version of myself that hasn’t really been good to me, in any way.

Missing a version of me I’ve lovingly buried under dunes of sand and blood and heartache:

Sands that expanded over a horizon I was lost in for far too long,

blood dripping from my fingernails as I crawled my way out one too many times,

heartache that stuck by my side, loyal to my wounds.

Missing an old skin I’ve shed,

an old persona I took off, a marionette with cut strings I’ve cast aside. 

You have not been good to me, old self… 

Why was it always so easy for you to stand up for others, but so hard for you to stand up for me?

Why is it that every nudge you received from insignificant people we’ve met, pushed us into a well of toe-curling, nail-stabbing, thought-wailing anxiety?

Why did you always believe them? 

You let them.

You let them make you think you weren’t good enough, even for the most trivial of matters:

doing schoolwork, making friends, being loved.

I’ve never been more glad I’ve buried you alive.

Maybe I haven’t been good to you either. 

Should I have been the one to stand up for you? We both know I didn’t know any better

But what did either of us know back then? Nothing? Everything? What do we know now?

More of nothing.

I run my hand through what’s left of nostalgia’s ashes. 

I wish I could tell you they are that of a Polaroid picture I took with my friends, then burnt. 

I didn’t have the luxury of making memories… because no one was close enough for worthwhile moments.

I want to tell you that these aren’t ashes of memories I’ve set fire to, attempting to burn away:

memories that dug their claws into me deeper than I knew possible.

Memories that make up the entirety of who I am,

yet that I gladly, barely, willingly, desperately let go of.  

I wish I could tell you of my “scars” but a scar requires you to have done something, to have lived, not just to have merely existed.

The memories are now scorched into my soul, like beautiful pyrography

that tells stories I regret being a part of,

chapters that dragged on far too long, sentences that didn’t know when or where to end, until the thoughts of my end felt like selfish relief. 

The thoughts arch my back with a mountain’s weight: healing is an uphill trail

What would you do if one day,

you’ve set fire to all that you are,

hoping that only the true parts of you would remain,

but you had lost yourself to ash and smoke? 

Rise. That’s the only thing you can do.

Rise, like the old version of yourself was a bundle of sage waiting to be burned,

the mist released is your true self.

I can’t stand my old self

but just like when you lose a tooth your tongue keeps brushing the gap in your mouth, 

trying to make sense of what fell off,

I can’t help but miss myself.

By Mohammad Yamout

Mohammad Yamout is a pharmacy student at Beirut Arab University. He has a passion for writing and making people laugh. He’s a big science, sci-fi and fantasy buff who is always up for experimenting through his writing. Illustrations, cartoons, photos, video games, and sometimes music inspire Mohammad to write. He has published with Writers Beirut and performed in a couple of open mic poetry nights. His creative motto is “if you’re not exposing your bleeding heart when you’re writing, then you’re doing it wrong.”

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