We were grabbing a bite of lunch at a small cafe, in a mall, right across from a booth that sold jewelry and where ears could be pierced for a fee. A mother approaches with a little girl of six or seven years old. The little girl is clearly stating that she doesn’t want her ears pierced, that’s she’s afraid of how much it will hurt, that she doesn’t like earrings much in the first place. Her protests, her clear ‘no’ is simply not heard. The mother and two other women, who work the booth, begin chatting and trying to engage the little girl in picking out a pair of earrings. She has to wear a particular kind when the piercing is first done but she could pick out a fun pair for later.
"I don’t want my ears pierced."
"I don’t want any earrings."
The three adults glance at each other conspiratorially and now the pressure really begins. She will look so nice, all the other girls she knows wear earrings, the pain isn’t bad.
She, the child, sees what’s coming and starts crying. As the adults up the volume so does she, she’s crying and emitting a low wail at the same time. “I DON’T WANT MY EARS PIERCED.”
Her mother leans down and speaks to her, quietly but strongly, the only words we could hear were ‘… embarrassing me.’
We heard, then, two small screams, when the ears were pierced.
Little children learn early and often that ‘no doesn’t mean no.’
Little children learn early that no one will stand with them, even the two old men looking horrified at the events from the cafeteria.
Little girls learn early and often that their will is not their own.
No means no, yeah, right.
Most often, for kids and others without power, ”no means force.”” —
from "No Means Force" at Dave Hingsburger’s blog.
This is important. It doesn’t just apply to little girls and other children, though it often begins there.
For the marginalized, our “no’s” are discounted as frivolous protests, rebelliousness, or anger issues, or we don’t know what we’re talking about, or we don’t understand what’s happening.
When “no means force” we become afraid to say no.
I want you to imagine a ten year old version of yourself sitting right there on this couch. Now this is the little girl who first believed that she was fat, and ugly, and an embarrassment.
This is groundbreaking
I loved this thingum by bisexualpiratequeen so much I wrote it down to stick in my office cubicle.
And when we have our periods our ‘male’ hormone (testosterone) is actually at its highest level…soooooo…
nature is rad
These are the most stunning nature photos I have ever seen
When you are 13 years old,
the heat will be turned up too high
and the stars will not be in your favor.
You will hide behind a bookcase
with your family and everything left behind.
You will pour an ocean into a diary.
When they find you, you will be nothing
but a spark above a burning bush,
still, tell them
Despite everything, I really believe people are good at heart.
When you are 14,
a voice will call you to greatness.
When the doubters call you crazy, do not listen.
They don’t know the sound
of their own God’s whisper. Use your armor,
use your sword, use your two good hands.
Do not let their doubting
drown out the sound of your own heartbeat.
You are the Maid of Untamed Patriotism.
Born to lead armies into victory and unite a nation
like a broken heart.
When you are 15, you will be punished
for learning too proudly. A man
will climb onto your school bus and insist
your sisters name you enemy.
When you do not hide,
he will point his gun at your temple
and fire three times. Three years later,
in an ocean of words, with no apologies,
you will stand before the leaders of the world
and tell them your country is burning.
When you are 16 years old,
you will invent science fiction.
The story of a man named Frankenstein
and his creation. Soon after you will learn
that little girls with big ideas are more terrifying
than monsters, but don’t worry.
You will be remembered long after
they have put down their torches.
When you are 17 years old,
you will strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
one right after the other.
Men will be afraid of the lightening
in your fingertips. A few days later
you will be fired from the major leagues
because “Girls are too delicate to play baseball”
You will turn 18 with a baby on your back
leading Lewis and Clark
across North America.
You will turn 18
and become queen of the Nile.
You will turn 18
and bring justice to journalism.
You are now 18, standing on the precipice,
trembling before your own greatness.
This is your call to leap.
There will always being those
who say you are too young and delicate
to make anything happen for yourself.
They don’t see the part of you that smolders.
Don’t let their doubting drown out the sound
of your own heartbeat.
You are the first drop of a hurricane.
Your bravery builds beyond you. You are needed
by all the little girls still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters and
throwing like lightening.
You don’t need to grow up to find greatness.
You are stronger than the world has ever believed you to be.
The world laid out before you to set on fire.
All you have to do
My palms are galaxies.
In elementary school, we used to play this game where we thought that the length of a crease in our palm could tell us how long we’d live. And Roxanne said that my measurement was 83 years, and I had nothing to fear; somehow we were fortunetellers at age nine, and we had the stars aligned in our favor, acting saviors for each other innocently breathing whittled prayers of a soft future.
My nails are small.
Bitten down from the divorce, and resting jagged in their beds kind of like my breathing under the sheets the nights they used to fight.
I wasn’t the kid that blindly trusted anything; they said they loved each other and I never took I love you’s for granted, I never take I love you’s for granted, I guess you could say I was raised with a lot of fight in me.
I adopted a scar under my right ring finger.
My aunt gave me a purity ring on my birthday and the next day I jumped off a ten-foot chain-link fence, and forgot to take the ring with me so it hung me up before it let me down. We laugh about it now, I promise to not let a boy penetrate my youth as I explain how his lips would never be soft enough to match mine, and how we all missed all the signs:
bruised knuckles and sore joints from training in the art of self-defense, scarred wrists and skateboarding dislocations, resilient bones from holding myself together all this time.
My hands, they hold storylines.
Worn and calloused, carrying every expectation like a balancing act, sweating and slippery until each one of them dropped. They dropped, and in 2012 I was diagnosed with depression, and life placed a pill on my skin instead, and no one said that it was going to be this hard, and no one taught a tired soul that if you grip a shard loosely then it doesn’t bleed so much, no one said that it was okay to not be okay, so I said nothing—
And I write.
I write jaded promises for a future that is nothing if not soft.
I write to live at least 83 years because I’ve made it past eighteen and there’s so much I haven’t seen; because I have dreams, and hopes, and I’ve never been kissed in a rainstorm or worn an achievement on my arm like it was a medal of my character, because
the date and year has yet to come when this girl, she will come along and she will steal my breath away and give it back in an intoxicating whisper that she loves me; and my God, when it does, I swear I will do everything in my power to clench my fists and believe her.
I will write about each facet of her beauty that she can’t see in her own reflection. About how I wish I could inject her touch into my skin like ink to outline every crease as a plot line to a poem that’s yet to unfold in her name. That her name sets syllables on my tongue that have never tasted so sweet, and how my pallet could get used to it forever. I’ll use my fingers to trace her skin, hold her close and curl within, sighing to the rhymthic undertone of how my name sounds leaving her mouth before dawn. When I wake, I’ll write our love out in pen, therein preserving heaven by right hand, and implore that somehow a moment’s permanence might just withstand.
December 15th, 2013:
I will write until the time runs out,
until my grip gives out. I will live, and I
will fight, and I will love.
I will always use both of my hands.” —"Hands," -Valentina Thompson (via theseoverusedwords)
forgive yourself. when you break a stem at your neighbor’s garden. when you break a bone from parts you never knew was capable of feeling. when you break entirely because you’re tired of breaking. forgive. forgive. forgive. always.
what a beautiful person
And to the introverted theatre kids, public speakers with social anxiety, and florists with allergies.