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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 55
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
I Believe in the Power of I
Madison Kay Tuder


The word I is small. In fact, it’s the shortest word in the English language other than a. Placing I in front of a phrase can change its meaning significantly, while a is simply a connector. I before a phrase attaches yourself to it. The most important place to have I is before love you. I believe in I before love you.

The worst is when the people who are supposed to love me the most leave it out. The stomach plummeting feeling, which comes after they tell me I will never be accepted, is like when a plane hits turbulence; the conversation having its up and downs just like invisible bumps floating in the air. But near-death experiences of uneven air are supposed to cease quickly. Right? Well, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the stomach sickening, jarring bumps continue until the plane begins to descend and passes through fluffy, harmless looking clouds. In my experience, the bumpiest parts are through the fluffiest clouds. This is the worst part of the conversation. It’s the part where I’m told I had such a bright future, now it’s ruined because something that wasn’t my choice, and I will never be accepted. It feels insurmountable. I feel like the walls are gradually closing in with the same nerves that come with bad turbulence, when you feel like you’re going to fall out of the sky. My heart beats so fast, it feels like it’s going to fly out of my chest. But the worst part is yet to come. This is when the pilot slams on the brakes trying to make sure you slow down enough on the runway after you land. This moment feels like the plane has rammed directly into a brick wall, and you go flying forward in your seat. But every passenger is slung back to where they started. This comes when the conversation has concluded, and I hear the always dreaded words. “Love you”, they say as you’re leaving the room in that high-pitched, I don’t really mean it right now type of voice leaving out I. They do actually love you, but it will never feel like it if you can’t be accepted. I believe in acceptance.

Other times, when I is intentionally included by my significant other, it feels like I’m the only cloud in the sky. I’m so high up I can accomplish anything without judgment. Especially when I tell them about everything that has been happening, and how I can’t deal with it anymore. Then, they do something so simple, but somehow it makes everything magically better. They hold me in their arms and say, “It’s going to be okay. I love you”, and I can tell they truly mean it. I believe in true love.

I love you makes people feel so much better than simply love you. I changes the phrase for the better. I believe in true love. I believe in acceptance. I believe in the power of I.