One big change


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,

of never-good-enough

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,

and hope.

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,

I have.


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