the narrow ledge between sorrow and a blank stare,
They are offended by your capacity to feel.
They are threatened by the tears cascading down your cheeks.
Tears with the potential to turn into a tsunami,
to break down bridges, to wipe the shoreline clean,
and expose the sharp rocks hidden in the sand.
“You are too much,” they say.
Too much for speaking, and too much for crying, and too much for shouting.
You should’ve learned to sit down,
to cross your legs,
to contain your sadness into small boxes.
Didn’t your mother ever teach you to be polite?
To color inside the lines?
Your anger is a fire that must be extinguished.
If it grows too large it just might expose the truth;
it might just burn down this city of lies.
Don’t let them take your pain and turn it into something cruel.
Don’t let them take your anger and fray the edges, tear the seams,
Reshape it into something else.
They try and paint you as dangerous, as excessive.
Society has taught you to be small, how dare you try and become larger,
try and outgrow the narrow space you have been assigned?
They are afraid because they want control.
They want to own you,
every part of you
in its entirety.
But they cannot have you.
Because you own this anger, this pain.
You own this rage; this sorrow belongs only to you.
The way your blood boils, the way your heart sinks
and your breath thickens and your knees begin to shake.
This is your weapon; hold on to it like a handful of seeds.
No matter how much they ask or how hard they demand, do not give it to them.
For, with these seeds, you are able to grow a garden.
You are able to cultivate strength.
You are able to start a revolution.
After all, this vulnerability–this raw and uncensored ability to feel,
is the closest a human being can come to God.
Nivedita Sharma is a daydreamer, avid tea drinker, aspiring writer, frequent people-watcher, and lover of words. She recently graduated from UW Madison with majors in biology and psychology and certificates in gender and women’s studies and global health. Specifically, she is interested in promoting social equity through working on reducing health disparities and focusing on minority and women’s health. Additionally, she strongly believes in the power of sharing and embracing diverse experiences through writing and performance as a method of initiating social change and creating a more inclusive, more beautiful world.