41

Everything I am
and everything I will become
is already within me.
All the tools I’ll need to cultivate internal growth
are hip-holstered, at my disposal.

I find comfort in that
there is nothing new that will become of me
but the fate that was decided
the day I was born.

Like an abandoned backyard set,
I thanked everyone who entered my life
for all they taught me
as I looked at that empty swing
nostalgic and grateful
for the way they’d leave.

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell you,”
forces us to take those coming and going
as gifts
of shaping us;
that they can’t resist leaving because
that’s what they were meant to do.

The lesson of leaving is not in the longing
clinging to the memory of a back, receding.
The lesson is in dusting off your jeans
and reaching to your hip
to find out what to do next.

 

Thanks to skycielo for the prompt “empty swing set”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

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39

Confetti filled vault
anecdotally filled with
all the lies you’ve ever told.
Would it hurt you to read
as much as it wouldn’t have hurt
all the people you lied to
to spare their feelings?

“I didn’t mean to say that”
“No, I wasn’t”
“I promise”
“I’m sorry.”

This reciprocity of intimacy
we’ve all feigned to protect
praying they’ll never find out
falling prey to knowing better
than tell the truth.

Are we all keepers of vaults?
are they all just as full as the next?
Are we protecting each other
fibbers
bitter
from all the truths we wish
we could’ve saved ourselves from?

 

Thanks to wordslikebreath for the prompt “vault” and to A.P. Christopher for the word “reciprocity”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout! 

37

Keep the candle alight
so you can see me
even with less.

Crescent moon:
those going through the hardest times
often seem the softest.
Check on the strong friends
because they’ve learned to glow at night
even with only a quarter of themselves.

If you often find solace
against someone else’s shoulder,
always be sure to leave the floor to them
when your tears are dry.

I’ve felt the helplessness
of losing a friend
who couldn’t tell his story
loud enough so I could hear.
Did we fail each other?

There comes a point where it’s up to us
to open our ears
pour some tea
and listen to the strong ones;
their stories of sadness are just as sad
as the ones they gave advice on
when the words came out of your mouth.

 

Thank you to skycielo for giving me the prompt ‘crescent moon’ and AP Christopher for giving me the word ‘solace’! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout if I use it!

Inspo from you!

Hi everyone!

First, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone following along my summer ELLEventure on my Instagram, @elleguyen, as I’ve been in my internship for a full month now. You’ve all been so sweet and asking how it has been going–and I’m happy to report that I LOVE it! It’s so amazing to be surrounded by brilliant marketing and PR minds, I’m learning something new everyday. I’ve even been given the responsibility of launching some campaigns on my own which is such a great experience.

Second, I’m sorry that I haven’t been as responsive as I usually am, but as always, I’m taking the time to leave comments on your blogs when you comment on mine. Everything is about taking and giving! 🙂

The thing with the right campaign is all about the right word choice. And since I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut, I was hoping to pick your brain and find out what words or phrases you specifically love.

For example, my current writing ‘prompt’ list has some ideas like:

  • illuminate
  • an elementary school solar system styrofoam model
  • a beach and crashing waves
  • quiet defeat
  • addiction vs the real you
  • post-concert depression

Please comment below some words, places, descriptions, quotes, ideas or anything that really gets your creative juices flowing! If I use your prompt in a Sunday post in the upcoming weeks, I will leave a shoutout to your blog at the end of my piece, so you get that exposure too.

Thank you for your help!

Love,

ELLE

33

Bumblebee
buzzing over mason jar
your mother’s secret recipe
embalmed in glass
a strawberry, macerated
soaked in sugar, honey
in my bloodstream.

Crimson checkered cloth
scratchy grass just a fabric away
a summer of sunburnt complaining
and wearing rose-coloured glasses by fall.

I’m flipping pages of someone else’s story
laying, leisure
the protagonist battles the beast
as I tame my windswept hair

A watermelon in July
the peak of fruit
like the trailhead of a hike,
I come back every summer
to stay in the warmth
just a little bit longer.

28

On the correlation between
gaining weight and losing value:
like knowing to throw salt behind your back for good luck,
throw that notion away with the same reverence of belief
that no one really believes that either.

There is no glory in eagerness to be extra small
there is no shame in size medium.
Your wardrobe should not be a museum
of all the smaller versions of you
that you can’t wear anymore.

This toxic idealism;
a carrot, dangling;
if I continue to remind these clothes hangers of the old me,
maybe I’ll fit back in, someday.

Like a butterfly, yearning
to crawl back into cocoon
you are neglecting progress.
You have shown yourself compassion
by not ascribing your worth to your weight.

Your beautiful three-pound brain
is far from average
and if it expands with knowledge,
empathy, humanity and dignity,
and if others weigh in on your gain
and if you are alive and healthy,
quite frankly,
tell them to go fuck themselves.

17

The overwhelming ache in your stomach
of missing a memory in real time:
summer camp planetarium
status: away from keyboard
phone left at home
sorry, no wifi
looking for: validation
arising from stoking my own flame

August night, northern town
guided telescope
they told us using red flashlights
keeps our night vision unhindered
and boy, could I ever see

Salt shaker, spilled
stars, meteor shower
car splashes pothole
stars like mud splatter on my jeans
and I’ve become the canvas.

An archive of my life spent
trying to get sons
to like me
that starry summer, I prayed
those dead suns were proud of me, instead

Boys used to tell me I gave them a hard time, boasting,
“I’ve never met a flame I didn’t like,”
but they didn’t know I was fire
or maybe I was that red flashlight
doing exactly what was needed,
on my own terms.