Shelf Life
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An Open Letter To My Birthday Girl


What does it feel like inside when you turn around and look back at the past 364 days quietly forgetting?

The first day of the last year you can’t even bring up at all, isn’t that strange? A year is so very short, and so very long at the same time.

This year, nobody else will ever know the fullness of effort you threw into everything you did.
But I know.
So I will tell you with these flowers fresh and blooming on the table.

I love the days and nights you spent in the library writing your endless papers, and the mornings you commuted to teach with an extra-large tea and determination. I love the collection you birthed in the open library of your practicum, and the tulip garden soaked in rain that you still remember clearly. I also thank the dandelions in their yellow and white moments, for the words they gave you.

I love the excitement spilling into three weeks of travelling and unspeakable joy. It will always be unspeakable, marvellous silence in your memory. I love all the sunrises and sunsets you watched, sweat stain meals and the heel dents in your slippers. I love the melted ice creams, the days at home and more home in palms, skies and rainstorm.

I love the un-countable number of job applications and poetry submissions and interviews and writing tests and failing again and again and your kneejerk necessary suppression of excitement and anticipation. Your learning curve this year will always remain one of the most valuable walks of your life. Thank you for being brave and trying again. Thank you for failing and succeeding. Thank you for teaching and loving and trying honesty even though it is as bitter as the medication you brew for your stomach. Thank you for working and saying yes and saying no and all the other variations of answers you gave in between. Even on the days you were a coward. Even on the days you were a flake.

Jasmine there is one minute left to this day, and you have to learn the really hard lessons. Sometimes you have to speak to yourself what you need to hear and you cannot lie and hope someone else will see through it. You cannot blame anyone because no one is responsible for you this way. Only you.

And even when the heart inside of you is weak, know there are days and days of strength in reserves, days and days of yous aflame that will laugh and cry with you from the years since your birth. Thank you for having always cherished all of them. Take love that has been given to you without bitterness or entitlement and love yourself with abandon. Accept the people around you as they are, where they are, but always think before you choose.


I hope you always go into today at a run or crawl, a dance or tiptoe, even if you have to drag yourself into each minute. I hope you do.

I wish you grace like autumn leaves on the pavement in the wind. I wish you stillness the way of midnight snow. I wish you faith as sure as the first muddy root of spring. I wish you eternal summers in the places you make your home.

Thank God He made you a poet. It means even at your loneliest, you are never alone.

“For each of you had an hour, or perhaps
not even an hour, a barely measurable time

between two moments—, when you were granted a sense
of being. Everything. Your veins flowed with being.” (RMR)

And maybe, it was only that you needed a moment like this, to call your own.

This entry was posted in: Shelf Life


jaziimun is an interdisciplinary artist who works in text, paper arts and tea. She is also an arts programmer, and a ceramic hobbyist. She is also a proud bun mom.

1 Comment

  1. Lena Oh says

    Ahhhh I really truly loved this 🙂
    Getting a little too emotional cuz its that time of the month and
    its just really cold here


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