Home > Uncategorized > maybe you are magic*

maybe you are magic*

Lately, I’ve been thinking about worth. Specifically, the things we deem worthy – worthy of our time, attention, love, blood, struggle, tenderness, and affections, etc. Worthy, I suppose, of us – of us as people. There isn’t some kind of magic scale. There’s no weight to be measured, to be found sufficient or lacking. You cannot judge a heart by its scars, just as you cannot judge a heart by its fears. Because make no mistake, every heart lives in a sea of its own insecurities, counting out the deficiencies like tick marks on a chalkboard and struggling with all the what-ifs made of nightmares and questions. The trick is not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the dark. The trick is finding something that, or someone who, is worth more than the indefinable sum of your fears and insecurities. If you can do that, I believe you can do anything.


The other day, in an email, a dear friend told me something that I very badly needed to hear. She said, “And don’t forget it: You are incredibly brave…the bravest I know, and no one can take that away from you.” Confession time, darlings: I am no braver than you are. I have simply gotten into the habit of ignoring the way my pulse bangs around my veins. There are times, still, where I hold the world in like an ocean. Because some circumstance demand our silence. Because some instances require sacrifice. Because some hearts will bend beyond the possibilities of physics. Or biology. Or whatever.


The same day I got that email, I found myself hurled down a dangerous rabbit hole of questions. I began to question myself — if I really was the bravest version of myself, if I had said all the things I should’ve said, or if I’d just said it all wrong. That’s always my fear, right there: that I said too much, too little, or it all just came out in Moron instead of English. But that’s just insecurity talking. That’s just the fear, fed by a thousand old ghosts, taking hold and constricting.


There are times in life where people try to protect us from ourselves in myriad ways. There are times where, for all the good reasons and motivations, our hands are tied and things spiral out of our grasp and beyond our control. Sometimes, this is a question of self-worth – of another person’s inability to see the value in themselves. And my god, nothing makes me sadder than that. Nothing makes me want to rage like Godzilla, smashing Tokyo. Nothing makes me want to hug you more and try to make you understand – try to make you see you as I see you. There are times where I am Pollyanna. Where I wear the rosiest of rose colored glasses. But that’s only a general outlook. If I look at you, if I care about you, I can catalogue all of your shortcomings and flaws. I’m very good at assessing people. But just because I don’t spill them out in front you doesn’t mean I don’t see them. Which, I suppose, is what makes me furious sometimes, when someone cannot grasp his/her own worth.


We aren’t the sum of our flaws, insecurities, mistakes, or bad moments. We are so much more than the dark, aching parts. But sometimes, when the world is shouting so loudly and we are endeavoring to kick ourselves in our own asses, we need to be reminded of that. We needed someone to hold up a mirror and say, “Hold up: look at yourself. See yourself as I see. See the good. Feel what I feel.” That, I think, is often times why we write – we are trying to convince the world of something. We are trying to share some truth. We write to pull the darkness from hearts, possibly even our own. We write to encourage, to free, to question, to reveal, and always to understand. But that is a tangent for another day.


If you love, like, or care about someone or something – that is proof of its worth. Sometimes that is the exact proof we need to see when we need to see it most. Time and attention is never given as an idle thing. It’s a choice. It is, I think, its own revelation. Its own declaration, easier than the kind we cannot always say aloud. We make time and space for the things and people that matter. It’s not easily done or easily found. It is often a struggle, sometimes a bloody one.


But to make something, you have to know how to bend. You have to get creative. You have to give. And you have to keep giving, because nothing in this world happens without a fight. But the funny thing is that all fights are different. And sometimes, fighting means something you would not expect. Sometimes, it means trying to let something just…be. That’s a concept I have always struggled with.


As I’ve been reminded lately, I am brave. Sometimes to a questionable degree. I’m not more spectacular or strong than you. I’ve just learned, like all good lunatics, to ignore the pain for the sake of possibility. I’ve learned to reach, despite the fears. And if I’m striving toward something? It’s worth it to me. Because nothing that requires a sacrifice of any kind is ever bestowed idly. I’m always after nothing less than magic.


What about you, darlings?



*The title is take from this line (“you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.”) is from Marty McConnell’s poem, “Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell.”


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 7, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Hey Ali, I can’t recall if I’ve commented before but I just wanted to let you know that you are an awesome writer. Your writing is real and beautiful and sometimes for that very reason I can’t read it all the way through, because truth be told it makes me a little sad or uncomfortable. But fret not, sometimes they also make me quite happy. So thanks for the words and everything in between

    • February 7, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Hey, Elle

      I want you to know that your comment made my day. I try very hard to write things that are real — that might matter to someone — even if it is uncomfortable to write. And trust me: it is uncomfortable for me, sometimes. But what you wrote? That makes it all worth it. So, thank you very much for that. ❤

  2. February 7, 2014 at 9:12 am

    You’re very welcome

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