Updated: Jan 31, 2022
"I cannot even begin to express the waves of emotions I have felt over the past year. On days when I feel more suffocated than usual, I breathe through writing and it has become part of my healing and grieving process during these difficult times. I wrote my first piece and collaborated with my very dear friend, Kyaw Lin after we heard about the tragic incident back in August, 2021 when a group of young activists jumped off the building to escape from the military soldiers in Yangon. I didn't know how to go forward after hearing the news, and writing has helped me to continue living. I wrote the second poem, Cold, as I reminisce about the final moment of tranquility I felt right before the February 2021 military coup. The poem also expresses my grieving journey as I endure the pain of losing my late stepfather and friends to the state violence."
In this most difficult time,
you may not be feeling it
but I am sending love and hope to you,
to continue and above all,
In this most difficult time,
you may be thinking the universe is not giving us a break,
only one tragic thing after the next.
You are afraid you are becoming desensitized,
because you feel numb.
How can you find peace
when there's a part of you that’s inaccessible to yourself?
Bound by years of unresolved traumas,
faced with tragedies and heartbreaks
without catching a break.
You did what you did to cope,
the most vulnerable parts of yourself hidden away
and now inaccessible even to yourself.
A wounded child trapped within your soul
yearning for unconditional love,
waiting to be healed.
The spark of joy will return to you,
ready to play and laugh without a care like a child again.
More importantly, ready to inspire others that
even in the most difficult times,
we have the ability to heal through communal care and collective healing
to carry on the good fight.
So, I promise you,
you are filled with compassion and humility.
you are being loved and capable of loving
you are capable of receiving forgiveness not from someone else
but from yourself
you are the universe,
the universe where we all need for collective healing.
- Thu & Kyaw Lin
Bitter yet familiar sensation of this cold breeze from the Pacific Ocean,
a subtle taste of salty waves and luscious firs combined
somehow you find warmth in it as it caresses your hair, touches your nostrils, embraces you…
and your body remembers this taste in you.
You have craved this state of physical ease and freedom from the numbness and the place
because this is the feeling you last felt before all hell broke loose in the last moment you ever felt so light.
The only thing you brought with you was solitude, the company you felt content with.
The numbness turned into your sanctuary for healing and grieving
because you can’t process any more pain or loss at this point.
So interesting how the place you’ve never been before,
could make you feel nostalgic
about this liberating feeling of joy and peace.
This new place you’ve never been before, also reminds you of the cold, gloomy memories and a place
where you’d met strangers turned into friends,
friends turned into strangers,
where you got your heart broken
and got mended with tender and love by courageous souls,
where you found your sense of direction, leading you nowhere and everywhere.
So ironic how you’d miss this cold you’d learned to love to hate, somehow brings you comfort, where all the missing pieces came together to mold you back into whole.
For a moment, I will let this bitterly cold wind take its course in helping me reclaim my sense of living again…
About the poets:
Thu (she/they) is a Burmese social, ecological and food justice advocate and writer who is currently residing on the land of the Lenni-Lenape and Wappinger people. She hopes to work towards integrating nutrition education as a public health intervention, and revitalizing indigenous food knowledge and ecological sustainability in Myanmar.
Kyaw Lin is an admin of art4cdm, an online community that promotes creativity and provides a system of care for CDM advocates. He likes to write, make digital art, and he is interested in multidisciplinary approaches to promoting freedom of expression using art.