by Lou Ramsay

Nourish yourself, they say.

Eat your greens, drink your water, cleanse your skin. Sweat your body, move your body, love your body. Extend your hands up to the sky, reaching for the sun, and be thankful for today, to live, to breath, to be. Thread friendship through each relationship, let love stand as your testament. Hope should bloom from your shoulders, your ears, your mouth when pressed tight in a line. Bite your lip, your nails. Twist your hair. There. That’s where you nourish. Between your two ribs, right at the top. Breathe.

Nourish your body, with lotions and potions. Lotions from beauty stores and well-lit counter stores of celebrity faces. Concoctions of smoothies with mysterious ingredients from around the world. Maca powder for energy, acai for your immune system to remain strong, spirulina to keep your body fighting and moving. They tell us ‘work with your body, it is a temple’. And so we attend hot yoga classes and run for miles. Lift weights, because we are our first home so we should care for ourselves. We repeat this until it is our mantra. We adopt this nourish, this endeavour to go and heal ourselves of past hurt. We see the beauty in our old pains. There is hope blooming slow. Poets online tell me I cannot be loved unless I love myself first, so I nourish and love and give my all, to me. First, for once, to me. Always to me. A habit I refuse to break.

I cultivate friendships and relationships that make me feel good, feel strong, feel like I’m healing and being and learning. I am me. It is good. We are a team, I and this band of merry men and women, bound together by love and growth. We breathe into each other, over sugary cocktails and bitter sours, shouting into the night in the pubs and clubs, wanting for each of us the best. The most. Everything we can get. We want each other to have it, desperately. We wave our cigarettes, nourish physically long forgotten, but there’s something in this moment that feels like more than something as simple as the word nourish can convey. It is home. By giving what we can to each other, filling our cups until they overspill with goodness. With love. With nourishment. With belief. There is no starving for affection or attention, now we pull together and tend for our own. We come together. We be. For ourselves. For each other.

“They tell us ‘work with your body, it is a temple’. We repeat this until it is our mantra.”

But how do you nourish yourself when the relationship once so nourishing, starts to leave your cup empty? When it starts to feel like an uphill battle. When asking for more feels like asking far too much. What do you do then, when it’s with the person who gave you so much before?

It feels as though this nourish has stopped. The water has dried up. The foundation has frozen still. Coming together, to love and give and be, all starts to feel a lot like falling apart. I look into your eyes and wonder, ‘When did this start to unravel?’ It seems as though we have changed frequency. I can no longer feel strong. I sweat, I cleanse, I drink my greens as juice and eat my greens clean yet nourish does not come to me. I feel as though I am destined to hurt, to feel my soul act like my cup you once would overspill. Where is the love, my love? Do I no longer give you enough? Encourage your dreams, pull you up when you are falling low, bring you towards what you desire. Is it not good for you anymore?

To nourish, is to communicate. To share ideas the same way as knives and forks when feasting, ‘share a bit of this’ ‘have a bit of that ‘you must try this, you’ll love this’.

No longer are you feeding my soul off your fork, eager to know what I think. I wonder when I begin to starve for this lack. If I will feel it, even at first. Will it be when you pull away? When you stop talking to me as much, when your replies shorten? Or when you dismiss my concerns, so I feel lost. I think that will be when my heart will starve; it will be needy, desperate, wondering what has happened.

What has happened, my love?

Did I lose the desired taste you once craved, or have you found a taste in the old and familiar?

To love is to nourish, to care, to support. When this stops, I must go back to the beginning. I must do what all of the poets online tell me to do on every feed.

I must go back to me.

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