Dedicated to Thia, Laurie Halse Anderson, and all the survivors who are learning to discover their voice.
You cannot say justice does not circuit through my body
You cannot say I am not fighting for the voiceless when every step is a march, every word is a match and I’ve been an arsonist since Day 1.
You cannot tell me that my voice is a whisper. For years, I strained because my throat and vocal cords had burned in the fire.
I’m fighting til you’re heard. I’m bleeding til you’re raw.
This time, when the enemy closes in, I will not be called a coward, but I will raise my hand, curl a fist.
I will fight back.
I won’t curl on the floor or sit still, telling emergency medical technicians it’s not necessary to take me to the hospital. That I’m strong enough.
Sometimes, strength does not come from a shout. Sometimes, strength comes from standing back up again.
When the champ stands in the ring and there’s his felled victim on the mat, does anyone look to call the man who sacrificed the winner?
I am learning in the value of using my voice.
I am learning how to shout
(after years of not knowing how to speak).
There’s power in healing – from victim to survivor to thriver.
Dedicated to Josh Aronovitch and my favorite cream puff.
One sacred step.
Fear made me choke on my words & splutter out dumbed-down sentiments, thinking no one wants a thinking girl.
Now, I have a love who speaks of my words like each has a flavor, a nuance. I have friends who describe my vocabulary as a Siren calling sailors to craggy rock formations.
I’m thinking, but the nature of being alive is that it demands action.
One sacred step.
For lifetimes, it was like a game of hopscotch. Avoiding the landmines, but hopping one forward, three backward. Felt like I was blindfolded and gagged.
I choked on my words and stumbled forward without making progress. Each detonation jolted my heart alive like jumper cables. But here I am, spark within me.
I have often compared myself to a phoenix, but this time, maybe, there’s no need to scorch my wings. Perhaps there’s no cause for any conflagration.
But if there is, know that this time around, I will fight with every breath. Know that this time around, I am not choking on fear but swallowing kerosene of my own, belching fire, and living my truths.
Each day begins with the sun rising over, rising above, now maybe I identify with the sun instead of the phoenix (because it, too, is immortal).
I will not hesitate. The Universe beckons me.
It’s now or never.