44

Reach in search of self doubt
self hate
fear
anger
frustrations
and come up empty.

You have done enough
the universe is so proud of you
and all the light you’ve radiated
has fueled your loved ones
in loving you back, tenfold.

You are miraculous
a picture perfect work in progress
the stage is dress rehearsal
and you’re just getting started.

You have been magic since your birth
and when you get through
the roughest patch
you are magic, even still.

So let’s skip the dramatic clichés
exaggerated can-nots
let’s reach for everything we deserve
even if we’re scared of failing
and let’s walk on stage anyway.

 

This week, I’ve felt a bit of impostor syndrome and suffered the “I can’t do it” mentality. This piece has realigned me–if you’re feeling the same way, please use 44 to realign. Continue to reach and reach and reach.

Love,

ELLE

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43

Silent auction:
all the parts of my body
touched without consent.
Highest bidder
my currency in
all the words
I didn’t say.

Pawned off, no password
no security question that
this was something I wanted;
unauthorized login, unknown server—
are my terms and conditions in such small font
they lay, unadhered?
How do I make Arial
louder?

If only I smiled more, I’d be
grateful
degraded
an arm, grabbed
crowded bar
a leg, grazed
lonely apartment.

I didn’t welcome you here—
didn’t your mother teach you
to never overstay?
Or did your father teach you
it was my fault
for letting you in?
Which is an easier pill to swallow?

If you have liquid courage in your glass,
what do I have
in mine?

 

Thanks to varjakBaby for the prompt, “The handy-dandy computer programmer’s pocket reference”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

42

No halo:
I used to press my fingers into your back
the rebound felt like
wet cement
I thought you would keep me
grounded

There are so many stories
I’ve never told because
I’m ashamed of the moral takeaways
(there aren’t any)

Self destruction like
hurting others
so I could
feel something.

Instead of moving away
leaving this dilapidated apartment
entering plush lawn fronts
instead of seeking more for myself
I just changed the curtains
fluffed the pillows
and stayed
and stayed
and stayed.

 

I know you all often wonder about my writing prompt process, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate where I (swear on my life) got the “no halo” prompt for 42 from.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summers in your nook of the planet!

Love,

ELLE

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

30

A nation of car horns and serene waterscapes
women in masks, shields against the burning sun
a family of bandits,
streetside dining.

Nation of noise
I return for the tranquility.
Strong drinks and ice cubes, sweating
a firm opposition of to-go coffees
because if you have time to order one,
you also have time to sit down and enjoy it
in the company of others doing the same.

Weekend getaway to this island home
even in another language,
each gust of wind
whispers my native name.

Cutting open a ripe mango
its nectar races to my elbows.
In oceanside hammocks,
we’re laughing anecdotally of all the places we’ve been
and how home has never tasted
quite as sweet as this.

I did not win the scholarship essay contest you all so kindly voted me for. However, I’m not upset, because I landed an internship at a PR agency which directly relates to my school studies! My blog numbers and being part of this community translated perfectly to how I managed to get the job, and so while one door closed, a larger, MASSIVE door opened! Thank you all for following up with my personal studies, and I hope you’re all doing well too!
This piece is dedicated to my parents’ home, Vietnam. Have you ever been somewhere that felt like a second home? Tell me about it in the comments!

Thank you all again for supporting me.

Love,
ELLE

26

Being me is not enough
for someone like you.
If all my affection piled up like
an avoided accordion file,
you’d say I was too much
with no folder big enough
to carry the burden of
such an expansive heart.

I called you once, in a huff
ready to say everything I had pent up–
that you were selfish and cruel,
how dare you try to shove my wild love aside
because it was more than what you wanted.

If my worst trait was being “too much,”
then maybe it was your worst trait, too
that you couldn’t carry it.

I’ve read universes of books to know
someone telling you they didn’t hurt you
has no business in telling you so.

I’d yell and yell and yell
and you’d say “are you done?”
like waiting for the beep
you’d leave your message
while I sat on the line, listening
to everything you weren’t willing to hear
but it’s different, coming from you

All you’d say was “my, me, I,”
and all I’d hear was the dial tone.

19

Maybe I love you like
I love a friend’s photo albums:
distantly; a story apart from mine,
adoringly; happy for their happiness, or
curiously; questions I don’t
know the answers to.

Maybe I think of you like
a dream forgotten
by coffee brew.

But every afternoon at 3:39pm
hitting that midday wall
my sleepy yawn ignites a memory:
hard hands holding mine
dress shirts, hung neat
the clink of unmatched glassware

Dreamt dreams reminding reality
of a fever I couldn’t sweat out
of a nice heart I couldn’t melt
of a boy I swore I hadn’t met
but knew, somehow.

My mother warned me about him
while tucking me into
princess palace sleep:
“A hyena doesn’t always have
flesh in his teeth. Know enough
to stay away.”

But when the mercury rose too high
on that temperate thermometer
my mother also used to
keep me near a pot,
rolling boil, saying
“Stay as long as you can,
and you can sweat the toxins out.”