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By Kaitlyn Dunagan

Poetry, to me, is the most straightforward literature. It can be concise and sweet and simple and it can resonate at your deepest core level all at the same time. It reminds you of the importance of being honest about what you are feeling. It has an infinite power to modify the human spirit because it gives a mouth to what feels inexplicable. The moment we read a poem and find someone else has found a way to vindicate and organize all the scrambled words in our head—our hearts are momentarily put at ease.

We do not (always) need to be motivated but we do need to feel understood. There is nothing more intoxicating than being in presence of something, even if that something is words on page or a screen and not a person, that makes you feel like you are capable of being known and being loved. Not for all the attributes you do not embody but for who you truly are.

What I find most appealing about Iain Thomas’ work, is that it isn’t sweet, in the traditional sense, but it is what I need to hear when my negative thoughts cannot simply be pushed back by telling myself a positive one. If you, too, find it difficult to find encouragement when the days get dark, here are five blunt reminders from Iain Thomas that can help you through them:

“Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

“If nothing else, one day you can look someone straight in the eyes and say, “But I lived through it. And it made me who I am today.”

“Yet you still value the things you’ve lost the most. Because the things you’ve lost are still perfect in your head. They never rusted. They never broke. They are made of the memories you once had, which only grow rosier and brighter, day by day. They are made of the dreams of how wonderful things could have been and must never suffer the indignity of actually still existing. Of being real. Of having flaws. Of breaking and deteriorating. Only the things you no longer have will always be perfect.”

“Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you hurt, you heal. After darkness, there is always light and you get reminded of this every morning but you still choose to believe that the night will last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Not the good or the bad.”

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