self-care as activism

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happy birthday

A poem about loving from afar.

happy birthday

happy birthday. wishing you nothing but the best

your 32 years flew by
before you knew it.
celebrate them well.
climb a mountain with your friends. 
breathe long and deep at the summit.
celebrate the mundane and beautiful moments of your life
without me.

i wish i didn’t wish you well.
i wish i hated you.

i wish you wished for more of us than you wished for more money,
more work,
more late nights at your computer,
more job interviews on holiday,
more grinding your teeth in your sleep.

wishing you nothing but the best
even if our “bests” don’t fit.

they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
i hope you’re still as strong as i remember
i hope you’re not in pain
and if you are, i hope you’re not dragging the next one
through it with you,
i hope she is quiet and wants for nothing,
that she trusts you know what you’re doing,
i hope you don’t insist on her witnessing you
as you self-destruct.

if happiness is a moving goalpost,
a flicker in the corner of your eye with each resume sent,
each all-nighter;
if happiness means work and purpose can be found in a line of code,
then I hope you’ll be the best damn coder
the world has ever seen.

i hope you find the housewife of your dreams
though I know she isn’t me.
i hope you move to montreal
with all that money you’ve made
and i hope you finally feel
the love you’ve spent your life
saving up to buy

it’s all i’ve ever been allowed to ask of you,
so happy birthday.
may you find more joy than your goals are built for.
may you find more peace than your schedule permits.
may you find yourself again eventually
without me

Aubrie Johnson profile image Aubrie Johnson
Aubrie is a neurodivergent artist, tarot reader and art therapy student. When not making stuff, she's birdwatching or out buying a book (knowing full well she has a tbr stack at home).