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March 28, 2017

I Will Not Be Small.

You don’t like what I have to say.

I’m too outspoken. Too loud with my opinions. Too negative.

I seem to like the controversial stuff. I like to argue.

I’m a bit winded with my political discourse. You sigh. You roll your eyes.

“There she goes again,” you say.

You unfollow and unfriend. You don’t want to hear it from me. You’re tired of it.

It’s fine. We’re cool, bro.

You may be able to turn a blind eye, but I cannot.

You want me to be small—and get even smaller now—but I will not.

You would rather I become quiet—and quieter still.

You would like me to quit, to stop complaining.

You want me to stay positive and “see what happens.”

Is it because you don’t hear what I hear? Is it because you don’t see what I see?

And do you especially hate it when I call out the blatant hypocrisy?

But I will not be small. Not now, not ever. Because, there ain’t nothing small about me.

Turning a blind eye is easy. It’s the easy way out. It’s easy to pretend that issues don’t matter. It’s easy to pretend, because most of the issues do not affect you. And because deep in your heart you just don’t care. And because maybe you feel helpless and hopeless. And because maybe you think nothing ever changes so why bother?

Meals for seniors. Public education. Family planning. Women’s rights and resources. The arts. The environment. Science. Healthcare. The same freedom to love and worship afforded to all.

How could these things not affect you?

Gutted, slashed, gone.

For what?

Oil, weapons, a pipeline, and a big fat wall. More money for billionaires.

Are these the things that make our nation great?

Are “working” people suddenly landing new jobs all across America?

Where? Do tell.

Oh, and every 98 seconds, a man, woman, or child is assaulted in the United States.

Assaulted.

97 percent are women and girls.

And these statistics are an improvement.

Let that sink in.

I have a big heart—and a big mind. I think. I do. I talk. I sign petitions. I read articles that lean both left and right. I try to see all sides. I recognize the spins. I call a lie, a lie, regardless of who you are, or which side of the aisle you’re sitting in.

I watch. I see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears what is happening and what is coming directly out of the mouths of our leaders. And then I use my big words, and I write my long sentences. I write my letters.

A public school teacher taught me that to be effective, a writer must be careful about spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

That our words need to be chosen thoughtfully.

I no longer worry about making waves or splashing you with my thoughts. Your disagreement and deflection only fuels my thinking. It makes me want to use even bigger words—words that carry some weight.

Words like “treason,” “collusion,” “evidence,” and “oligarch.”

You want me to be small. But I know the difference between right and wrong.

I will not let the garbage I see and smell be pushed under a rug.

I will not whisper, because I am not small.

I fill up a room.

My tongue is sharp. My skin is thick. My arms are open wide.

I won’t go home. I won’t roll over. I won’t stop. I won’t behave myself.

I won’t close my mouth. My light will stay lit, and I will continue to hold this—my declaration.

Does it annoy you? My daring to speak? My daring to understand?

My daring to discern connections, and draw conclusions, and make predictions, and truly see the big picture about what is actually happening?

My boldness. Is it driving your hateful heart crazy?

You can try, but you will not stop me.

My train has left the station.

I’ve got big strength in these arms, in this voice. I can study history and fearlessly make statements about the players.

Because I’ve been here before.

And make no mistake, those players? The ones with white hair, old ideas, and small hands?

They are playing with our lives.

You think it’s time to be quiet. You think I should wait. You want me to just get over it. To move on.

But you are wrong. Now is the time to rise.

I will never be small. I will always fight the good fight. I will stand up for right, and good, and just, and honest, and clear, and kind, and generous.

I will salute the truth. I will champion beauty, and innocence, and noble endeavors that favor all people, not just some.

I will continue to welcome and promote the ardent quest for freedom.

In my marching feminist heart, I am simply Lady Liberty.

My essence is assaulted every 98 seconds by your greed, but I will not fall. I will not lay down. I will not cower in fear.

I’ve been holding this divine beacon, this torch, for as long as I can remember.

And it will not go dim, just as I will not go dim.

I will not be quiet.

And, no. I will not be small.

.

~

Author: Kimberly Valzania

Image: Flickr/Andréa Portilla

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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