To Messy Sam

The following is a poem submitted to us after one of our Anchor Workshops with Kai Cheng Thom. The theme we explored as a community inside the workshop was "Expanding our window of transformation" participants were invited to explore a relational conversation with exiled parts of themselves. The polarities present within was our material.

And out of it, came this beautiful poem. Thank you Sam for being willing to share with us and our broader audience.


To Messy Sam:

Hello, my messy, chaotic, big feeling self,

I needed you, even if I didn’t realize it, at first.

We came so close to death I could taste it — we could taste it, couldn’t we?

So you embodied the tornado that, had it overtaken us, surely would’ve left only the dust of us.

You couldn’t let us die. And how could I not love you for that?

When the universe asked us to sink or swim, you became a roaring tsunami.

When the universe asked us to rise or die, you became the edges of the atmosphere.

Your radical spirit refused to be swallowed. Refused to be pulverized. Refused to be diminished.

You felt into every edge of our torment and would not go silently.

You said, I can be as big as this. I can be as much as this.

You made visible what threatened to erase us.

I don’t know that I understood your courage, because if I did, I would have to accept your grief.

It is easier to be repulsed by you than be shocked by the pain that disfigured you.

It is easier to disown the wound than confront the weapon.

It is easier to call you ugly than hold the helplessness that broke you.

It is easier to abandon you than to surrender to the powerlessness that you felt.

That we felt.

What would it mean to reclaim you?

You slammed doors because no one heard you leave, yet you knew your absence mattered.

You cried out because no one saw your pain, yet you knew your pain was important.

And here I am… afraid to hear and see you.

What a radical act of hope, of aliveness, to refuse to be unseen and unheard.

I owe you my life, and yet I am afraid to lock eyes with you.

I owe you my light, and yet I am afraid to welcome you home.

I am you, and yet I am still trying not to be.

You are strong and brash and gorgeous and truthful, yet I approach you as a liability.

The gift inherent in your truth is that your pain — my pain — our pain — deserves to be witnessed.

“If the earth does not tremble as we die… maybe it fucking should.”

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About the author(s):

Sam Dylan Finch

Sam Dylan Finch (he/they) is a writer, content creator, and lived experience advocate, leveraging the power of digital media to shift the conversation around mental health, neurodivergence, and queerness. His work has been featured at Alma, the Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Healthline, Psych Central, and more. Learn more at