Better, by Melissa Felson

I sat inside a room
and promised myself
I wouldn’t come out
until I was “better.”

You see,
no one taught me
that better
is not a chalked line in the dirt,
that there is no
bronzed medal with gilded rim
Better. Fit for consumption.

I stared down a mirror
so long
that my lips became my eyes
and my eyes become
huge craters
I couldn’t climb out of.
But I didn’t care for climbing anyhow.

I became a master excavator.

albeit lonely.

Tools in hand,
refusing hands of rescue
reaching out from the rim.

“I’m fine. Really, I’m fine.”

“She was,
in fact,
not fine,”
reads the narrator.

These days I’ve learned
that dogs see in black and white,
but I am not a dog.
I am human.

I am human,
so I err.
I am human,
so I am flawed.

I am human,
so no amount of
or divine inspiration
will deem me “better.”

I am human,
so I am enough.


People keep telling me
I look amazing.
They beg:
tell us your secret.
what have you been doing?

I tell them:
I’ve made some changes to my diet.

I’ve stopped putting
external validation
in my morning coffee.

(sugar-substitute, highly processed
packaged sweetener
made of
Instagram likes and
bending over backwards like
acrobatics for attention;
blending myself into
you for approval
like stirring in your
favorite brand of
soy milk even though
soy makes me sick.)

I tell them
I opt for the real thing these days.
connection and
act natural, which is to say:
Don’t act.

And, sure, it’s hard to kick the habit and
I’m not perfect at it, but –
I tell them –
Life is much sweeter this way.

<img class="wp-block-coblocks-author__avatar-img" src="; alt="<strong>Melissa Felson
Melissa Felson

My name is Melissa and I’m a special education teacher from Long Island, New York. I have been an avid reader and writer my entire life.

My other hobbies including playing guitar and piano, singing, working out, spending time with family and friends, and spending time in nature. I am a huge lover of coffee, of kids, of food and of meditation and personal growth.

I aim to write poetry that moves people and deepens their own understanding of themselves, their emotions and their beliefs about the world around them. I believe that words can transcend the social and emotional barriers between people.

This year, I decided to begin sharing my writing publicly on social media and at open mic nights in my area. If you enjoy my work, you can read more on Instagram at @intotheminefields.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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