I live in a small world:
close in proximity to people
whose beliefs are rarely threatened.
But if and when they are truly challenged,
the chief response is to repeat
tired, old platitudes
and grandparents’ biases
in a frantic fear that
if their beliefs were to be invalidated,
their glass houses would shatter
and paper-thin shields would burn up.
I go to a small school,
Where one day the teacher asked
About the meaning of “solidarity.”
Blank stares from the class.
One girl ventures to guess
If it means “aloneness.”
Alone in my suffering,
I am astounded by the irony.
I have a “small” problem.
This culture of shame,
and concealing pain—
it hurts us, deeply.
For me, it was anorexia,
the belief that small is extraordinary,
and that my beauty is only external.
But I see it in the eyes of people everywhere:
That fear that they are worthless
In a world that prizes perfection.
I hear it in their trembling voices:
the ones that beg to be heard
even as they fade away.
But I refuse to live a small life.
Because I believe that I—
like any other human being—
have endless love to give.
I will not allow my bleeding heart
to be broken trying to move
people whose feet are set in stone, or,
even worse, to live behind those old bars
of fear and numbness,
chained to self-doubt and powerlessness.
And I will befriend big people.
Not successful CFOs,
not that kind of “big.”
But those who possess
a love so deep
that it can overcome the fear
that perhaps money really is the key to happiness.
Love that would propel them
to the ends of the earth
in the desperate hope
that there is at least one
heart they can mend
or sick child they can heal
or cold man they can shelter
or soul they can fill with hope.
And in spite of my very big fears,
I refuse to be dwarfed by injustice.
I will not tolerate a world in which
schoolgirls are taught that they
are simply too fat and ugly,
while other girls their age
undergo the torture
of having their bodies sold
and dignity stripped.
And I will not be passive
in the face of a system
that allows some to wear diamond necklaces
while others live through hell
trying to find that sparkle.
I will dream big,
and love hugely.
I will suffer more
because I allow myself to love more.
but I will also experience
deep joy, fulfillment,
I refuse to call our world
a lost cause
as long as there are people
who die trying to sow justice,
give up everything for love,
and practice kindness for no other reason
than out of respect
for the fire that burns within us all.
Truth be told,
all I really need to change
is my mind.
To condemn ideologies designed to sell;
To refuse to tolerate injustice;
To acknowledge my worth;
To love others as myself.
This is all I want to change,
because everything flows from there.
truth be told,