A few days ago I suffered through a crisis of confidence while attempting to gain a better understanding of what direction I am trying to move in with my writing, and my life. During this crisis I managed to convince myself that I have nothing of value to offer a potential lover, and that I was destined to be the man who spends his life writing about love, without ever being fortunate enough to experience it for himself. Realising that I’d fallen into a creative and emotional lull, I decided to write down how I was feeling in a piece that I have since come to know as Dirt. 

I never intended to share the post with anyone. It was simply an opportunity to release some of the angst that has been building inside of me as I continue to work towards establishing myself and my voice within the literary industry. But as someone who believes in the importance of acknowledging that it’s alright to not be OK, I decided to share what I wrote below. My reasoning for doing so is simple: I don’t want pity. I want to give hope to anyone out there who resonates with how I felt. I want them to realise that they are not alone, and that negative thoughts will always come and go; but life will get better if you give it a chance. I promise…


An old Ugandan proverb says that the one who loves you, loves you with your dirt. But it’s not the dirt that concerns me. It’s the scars that are hidden underneath. Dirt merely clings to the surface; it can be washed away. I know that one day mine will be. I’ll find you, we’ll fall in love, and the sins and virtues of my past will become meaningless in the context of our lives. Yet I’m still so scared that when we meet and all the grit and grime of who I am is stripped away, you’ll see the blemishes on my soul and realise that you’ve fallen for a man who hides behind his words because his humanity has been broken beyond repair.

When all the dirt is washed away you’ll see the scars on my hands that were caused by a lifetime of fighting to find my place in a world that has always left me feeling lonely and afraid. You’ll see that my knuckles have been split on the cheeks of my enemies, and that I have torn skin from bone by driving my fists into brick and mortar in moments of frustration. You’ll hear the click in my wrist when it moves, and your fingers will feel the callouses that have left my palms feeling gnarled and worn. I’ll be forced to swallow my pride and tell you how they serve as a reminder of a time when I held onto a life that caused me great pain; and how all I had really wanted to do was let go.

I’ll explain that there are scars inside my head too. And that I can still see them when I close my eyes. There are the wounds caused by driving down a motorway with my eyes closed, wondering how it would feel to simply cease to exist. Or the marks left behind by the nights I spent lying awake questioning how I became a sky that no one wants to fly in.

I never wanted to be the man who was different. When I was younger I never thought that I would be twenty-eight years old and still alone. I didn’t ask to feel an empathy so strong that I was willing to sacrifice my own happiness to protect those around me. People often say that it sounds like a noble calling, but I have had my heart broken too many times by those that I have tried to save to find solace in the decisions that I have made.

All I ever wanted was to be normal; to be loved like everybody else. But as the sun sets each night and my sky turns from blue to black, I realise that even the stars are afraid to shine within me.


And yet my head and my hands are nothing compared to the wounds that lay buried within my chest. My heart has been ripped apart and crudely stitched back together more times than I care to remember. I haven’t even met you and I’m already struggling to find a way to show you just how fragile it has become. How can I ever tell you about the marks left by the infidelities of lovers, and how they make me afraid to love again? How could you ever want me if you knew that a piece of me died when I told a woman I wanted to grow old with her and she left me all alone?

I wish that it was only my dirt that you had to fall in love with…

I wish that I could smile at you with a face covered in filth and grime and steal your heart. But there’s more to me than what’s on the surface; it’s buried beneath the dirt. Life hasn’t always been easy. But I wouldn’t be the man that I am today without the scars that I mark my skin. I wouldn’t know how to love, how to smile, or how to find that little piece of happiness within myself even when I feel like giving up.

I can’t promise that I’ll be perfect when you meet me. Chances are I will be so excited just to see you that I’ll say something stupid, or try to hold your hand. But I promise that I will always think the world of you, and try my hardest to say and do the right thing. I promise that I’ll love you, your dirt, and the scars that hide underneath.

I’ll hold your hands tightly when you’re sad. You may not have the same callouses that I do, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t had to hold on when it felt like life was dragging you down. I’ll kiss your head when you close your eyes and the scars inside your mind manifest as visions that cause you pain. You may have never driven down a motorway with your eyes closed, and maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as an empty sky. But I promise that I will fly in you if you let me. Every day; and every night. I’ll fly one of those little gliders that leaves a trail of smoke, writing love notes across your horizons for as long as we both shall live.

And when your heart hurts as the wounds of lovers passed make you question who I am, I promise to be patient. I’ll lend you my ears, a shoulder to lean on, or just give you a kiss to show that I don’t ever want to lose you. I know that I said that I never wanted to be different. I know that I told you it has caused me a lot of pain. But I’m hoping it’s all for a reason; that maybe when I find you, and you look into my eyes, those differences will be what makes you take a leap of faith, and risk falling in love one last time.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be perfect. I would do it if I could. But I promise that I will spend every day loving you, even when you’re covered in dirt.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

114 thoughts on “Dirt”

  1. I was dating a Lakota man up until the day before yesterday. He had been so upset a few days before, wanting to turn his native card in because his sister was marrying his best friend of 30 years. The guy wasn’t good to his previous wife and a drunk. But his sister is 36. “She is so desperate for love,” he told me. I thought… aren’t we all?
    Indigenous women and our dirty feet. Seen as dirty, sexualized, and unable to find someone who can deal with hair that smells like sage and all the dirt on our feet and hands.
    and here I am same place as her. When his ex-wife told him that he couldn’t see me anymore and so he did, thanks to some women feeling entitled to control and make demands of another adult human being’s life and use their children as tools of manipulation. At least you don’t have that, I guess? So I wished him happiness and told him to be understanding of his sister, because she is just reacting to years and years of the same that I have been through. The same of what he put me through – not being something worth fighting for.

    i wish I had something more positive to say besides you aren’t alone. My feet just get dirtier as I keep walking this earth.

  2. Well, you get a hell of a lot more likes and comments on your posts than I get on mine. You must be doing something right. What’s the secret?

  3. sometimes, we just arnt meant to love. Sometimes, we just arnt the kind of person that people can figure out. Maybe you arnt meant to be in love. Yes, that is very disappointing because love is a wonderful thing. but maybe your purpose in life, the thing you are here for requires you to be alone. And someday, if you stay single, you will look back and say, “Wow. If someone had fallen in love with me I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

    Everyone has a different purpose. Maybe your’s will be better than falling in love.

  4. Beautiful truth. It is always easier for us to look at ourselves and see the worst, but when the right person comes along they will shine a light so bright that you will see yourself differently and learn that what you have to offer is special and amazing. I have been where you are at, and believe me, when it happens to you it is beautiful and peaceful

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more. I always believe that when I love someone, its not jus because of the appearance. Its always the past that made them whatever they are, the exs, the mistakes, the accomplishment. But, just want you know that the time will come, eventually, we would find someone that willing to embrace what we are. So, just need to be patient, wait, and prepare yourself when the time comes.

  6. Chris,
    Beautifully written , your eyes are the windows to your soul. Thank you for opening them for us to see beyond the shape of a face. When God writes your love story it is never one dimensional. Time or experience is never wasted, I believe he gave you both so you will understand the depth of true love.

  7. This piece really touched me.
    How honesty you wrote about your pain and loneliness.
    Reminded me of a time when I was in my mid-20’s and lonely.
    To me, the key to finding love was simply… loving.
    Starting with loving myself, scars, dirt and all.
    Loving people around me, without expectations of reciprocation of any sort.
    Funny thing is, just when I was beginning to think that I am actually okay on my own, I met him.

    Keep writing.
    You have a lot to offer.

  8. Love will find you, when it is ready to! In the meantime … the lack of it inspires beautifully written words about it, so it’s not all bad!

    Ps. Thanks for stopping by my site and the like! I will be watching for more blogs from you in the future, so thanks for bringing me here as well!

  9. That was… What I think almost every single mid twenty person feels. Especially if they’ve had significant relationships that turn sour. What I’ve learned from friends and their healthy relationships. Work on yourself, do things you like to do, but be open to possibilities.

  10. Nice post. I especially loved this ” An old Ugandan proverb says that the one who loves you, loves you with your dirt” — unconditional love. I can’t tell you how much it means to know that you’ve read any of my post ; you’ve done that twice and I appreciate. Could you drop a comment sometime? I would very much appreciate the gesture. Here’s my blog address : http://www.theliink.wordpress.com. Thank you.

  11. I confess that this is the first post I have read on your blog, but you had me intrigued from the very first line. I think you write very beautifully and it’s captivating. I’m a new writer so I appreciate very much when someone likes my posts, I dont know that it’s anything different but I’m glad you did and I can say that I will be keeping on eye out for your posts from now on. Hope you can look at the future with hope, because I know there is someone for everyone in this life but sometimes they just take a little longer to arrive. x

  12. I relate to your writing so much. It’s not somebody being perfect that makes them who they are, it’s their imperfections, their scars, what makes them who they are, their ‘dirt’. I think I almost like that analogy better than my own, ‘imperfectly perfect’. You’re not going to find someone who loves you, Chris, they’re going to find you, when you least expect it. I’ve been told that so many times myself and scoffed. It seemed to happen to literally everyone else but me; over the course of half of my life I watched others be happy and find their mates and I used to feel so lonely and wonder ‘why not me?’ Wholly resigned to the fact that I was destined to just be alone and my path was clearly not to have the great love of a lifetime, he found me. Or, we found each other, in the most unexpected way. This is love like I have never known, it is raw, it is messy, honest, uncomfortable, yet completely and utterly staggering in it’s strength and worth every second of the painfully long wait. I am 40 years old and it happened to me. It will happen for you too.

    Thank you for the way you write with such complete honesty. You inspire me.


  13. This resonated with me on more levels than I thought it would. I didn’t even realise I’d went on to the next post. For your heart’s sake (and now mine), I hope you find this person and that you get to experience what you’ve written. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  14. This really is beautiful. I found myself welling up more than once, and I could feel your pain and your longing with each word. And I could feel, with every click on the keyboard, that I know you a little better with each.
    Really beautifully written, and the best and most heartfelt post I have read in a long, long time.
    Kudos to you, sir

  15. i was triggered to keep reading by the opening of “A few days ago I suffered through a crisis of confidence while attempting to gain a better understanding of what direction I am trying to move in…” Well, i guess that’s the battle of the 20s that most of us have 🙂 Thanks for a nice post 🙂

  16. I took some of the troubles of my twenties into these first years of my thirties. Your words stuck a powerful chord in my mind that I can’t be like that after so much time. I don’t know what else I can say… wow.

  17. Wow i really like this letter. Thank you for your follow because i wouldn’t even ever read this and its really beautiful. Hope yo find what you are looking for, you are still so young.

  18. Hauntingly beautiful. Even after you find your person, you may sometimes still feel this way. But this heartbreakingly heartfelt letter to your future love will absolutely ground you in those moments as well as in this one.

  19. You articulate my fear, my pain, my daily struggle and you don’t even know me.

    When you stumble across a girl you might consider, show her this and if tears don’t spill onto her cheeks with a bittersweet understanding, she is not for you. A friend perhaps, but not yours to pursue.
    The woman who is for you, will willingly admire the scars that you think are so horrid. She will walk in the places that you think are desolate, pleading with you to see what a beautiful place your canyons can be – the same way you will plead with her to see that in her own life.

  20. Chris: thank you for visiting my blog today. I am so glad you did, because it resulted in me stumbling into this post you have chosen to share with us all. Thank you for your honesty. I love the analogy of dirt, and if the comments are anything to go by – I am not the only one it resonated with.

  21. I am so glad you shared this post! “I’ll explain that there are scars inside my head too. And that I can still see them when I close my eyes”.

    I can empathise and relate to this!

  22. When I was a kid, a fortune teller approached me and had told me that I will be lucky in everything except in love. I don’t believe in fortune tellers but seeing how my life is going now, sometimes I get the thoughts with you. But let’s not lose hope 🙂

  23. Chris, thanks for the honesty and emotion. Somebody once said that’s all writing needs to bring. Your piece filled my head with the sounds of at least twelve Billy Joel songs. I think I’ll go binge on his tunes for the rest of the night now. 🙂

  24. Hello, Chris. I saw that you liked my most recent post on my blog (thank you!) and decided to stop by to check out your blog as well. =)

    Man, this is beautiful! I appreciate your courage and your honesty so much! It is a huge challenge to share our souls in writing like you have done with this text. Anyone who’s a writer knows that.

    And I’m happy to see that you’ve managed to find some positivity in your struggle, to make art out of painful feelings. As a mental health advocate, I can’t stress how brilliant and how important that is. I hope you have already managed to get over those dark times of self-doubt. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’d love to be your friend! You seem to be an amazing guy and a big literary talent! I wouldn’t say so if I thought otherwise, believe me.

    About the content of this text… Don’t worry. You are worthy of being loved, even if you can’t see that in yourself at times. And you WILL find the one. The girl who is going to love you for your scars and your sorrows. Not “in spite” of them, but FOR them. The right person is going to look at those and see that they made you the person you are, that they are an important part of you and that they should be loved too. And she will be a lucky girl, judging by this text. She’s going to be so loved! And I’m sure she’s going to know exactly how to value that.

    Wishing you good luck, both in love and in writing!

  25. It’s really a beautiful heartwarming piece. You have really poured your heart out in it. It truly reflects the depth of the feeling you have for your loved ones. Beautiful post.

  26. I’m breathless! This was absolutely beautiful. I can relate to this so much. Long distance love is a killer, and you could really feel the emotion in every word. Absolutely loved it, instant follow! 🙂

  27. EXCELLENT! Please continue to write from the Heart. It should reach and touch generations of soul-searchers; and encourage them to look into the place that changing the world begins; Themselves!

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