An Ode to Cinderella

here's to you, you knees on the ground, yes please, no thank you, wide eyed dreamer
you thin-lipped, ruby-throated optimist, you girl in a dress that doesn't sit quite right on a staircase that feels too big
this is for you, for all your swallowed opinions and wincing shoulderblades
for everytime your recovery has been called wrong and everytime your reaction differs from the expected.

this is for you, cinderella.
for everytime your traumas bit you and you were reprimanded for bandaging the wounds
you who has always been too quiet, always been too kind, too soft-hearted gentle hands in the dirt until everything around you grows -
do not let them count your strengths against you.

too many people have tried to write your story. do not let them.
too many people have taken your quiet and mistaken it for fear - remind them there is always quiet before a hurricane, that the scariest moment of the war is when you can't hear who's coming for you. 

remember that sometimes, you will be afraid. sometimes, you will be so terribly afraid that your hands will quiver-stop on the rags they put in them,
that your eyes will go blurry trying to focus on the floor while they speak -
remember that your moments of fear do not overtake you, did not create you, did not form you into the woman you are today

this is for you, cinderella.
for everytime you were eyes tied shut with tears, fists to the floor, shoulders trembling, lips trembling, heart trembling.
this is for you, cinderella, and the way you pushed on. the way your grief became little pieces of thread and cloth and your mother's old dress. the way you sewed your disgrace into a new gown.

this is for everytime you got up in the morning, your mother's bones and your father's blood, only to live through it.
this is for everytime you didn't want to live through it and did it anyway, because you had to keep going.
there is something remarkable about the bravery in the quiet moment of waking up in the morning, even when your mother's bones ache and your father's blood boils. there is something remarkable about the bravery in the quiet moment of waking up despite.

this is for the way you spoke and touched when you knew the dull ache of a heart still trying to beat after too many people trying to stop it, for the way you kept yourself kind even when the world around you tried to turn you hard.
this is for you, cinderella, how you never let them make you into anything but yourself, how you let your tragedies stick their fingers in your dirt and muck around until something started growing again, how even the worst of it all only made you kinder.

this is for you, cinderella, and the world that wants to paint you with too few strokes. you have been here before, the girl who didn't react the way everyone else wanted her to, who didn't do what everyone else wanted her to. 
this is for you, cinderella, and the quiet kind of bravery.

This poem is about: 
Me
Our world

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