When I was in high school
I was very conscious of the way I smiled
And talked and laughed and sat
And I never knew where to put my hands
As I walked down the hallways
And I was usually looking down
And I never spoke to anyone unless they spoke to me first.
I grew up in a generation that conditioned me
To hide myself away.
Women in society today are taught to keep themselves neat
"Put on that red lipstick and pull yourself together, girl."
Contour so your nose looks smaller,
make sure your hair's smoothed down,
wear black so you don't look fat.
When I was high school, I spent a lot of time in my room
Playing The Sims 2 and writing songs about boys I looked up for sometimes
Thinking that those four walls were all that there was.
Growing up without anyone to tell me that at that very same moment
The Eiffel Tower was sparkling and babies were being born
I was hiding myself from the world around me
Because nobody told me that it was okay to expand
So please, expand.
Bloom like the freshly cut tulips that are hiding under your sweatshirt
Waiting to see the sun,
Spread out like the Pacific Ocean,
Swallow the world up and spit it back out whenever you feel like it
Unfold like the stars and planets of space,
Because there are galaxies in your eyes and I can see them
Magnify every single word that you speak
And make sure they all mean something because you only get a few
Stretch yourself to dramatic limits
Let everyone know that you are here and you exist and you matter
Because you matter
And you are a tulip
And you are the sea
And you are the universe
And you can be anything
And anywhere
And anyone you want to be
And don't you dare let me catch you wondering where to put your hands
Because I want to see them in the air
Flipping off every single moment that you've ever felt less than.
Ever hopeful, ever changing
Ever sparkling, never shaming
Never shrouding, never hiding
Always seeking, always finding
Ever radiant, ever brilliant
Ever intelligent, ever resourceful
Work together, take a stand.
Expand. Expand. Expand. Expand.
These four walls are not all that there is.

This poem is about: 
My community



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