August 8, 2016

A Poem for those who Feel too Small, Quiet & Lonely.

girl alone outside think sit thought sad angry

I’m No Baby.

When I was little my worth could not be extinguished
The youngest of three
When teachers asked in kindergarten, “who’s the baby in the family?”
I remained still
and was called out for not raising my hand
“I’m no baby!” I said proudly.
Fiery in response to someone trying to make me feel small.

The fire could not be diminished
I lived recklessly, with no walls.
Breaking bones
Racing too fast down ski hills
Always with messy, wild hair.
Screaming when I wanted to scream
Bubbling over with joy when I was delighted
Devouring books, writing stories of my own
I did not live small.

Yet as I grew
I was told I was small
You are so little
So cute
They said

I am wild! I am free! I am big!
I wanted to yell

The growing stopped.
Petite, at 5 foot 5
I started to shrink
Draw myself in
take it to be true
You are small.

Pushing away dinner plates
Quieting my voice
Less shouts of joy
More shouts of loneliness
Suppressing anger
Suppressing hurt
I slouched
hiding my heart
Averting my eyes
Never wanting to be the centre of all the gazes that surrounded me
I spent years
building up walls
constructing a house
around my heart, my fire
hiding my light from view.

Years passed
something inside me stirred.
I knew I needed more.
I looked up shyly to powerful people
Women speaking their truth
Women standing proud in their vulnerabilities
These people began to stir something inside me
I started to peek out from behind the curtains
Opening a window or two
Curious at first.

Stepping one foot out the door
I began to attract wild men
Adventurous men
With vivid imaginations
and ideas they turned into indescribable realities
Soul shaking ownership of their talents
Full lives lived.

I grew tired
Of being the small one
Of them leaving
To pursue something more full
More curious
and free.

So I opened the door
and began again

I planted my feet and took up space
Standing tall enough that I grew an inch
Remembering the wild haired child of my youth
That I am no baby
That everything I need is already inside
That I am allowed to be here.


Author: Annabelle Vincent

Image: Lucy Maude Ellis/Flickr

Apprentice Editor: Heather Hart; Editor: Catherine Monkman

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