how to go back and fetch what is yours—a small rebellion

i have stared down so many fears by doing what you said i could not do. is this what you want from me? to die with all of this still inside of me? the small dreams nestled tightly inside the wet velvet pockets of my cells. each one planted deep inside just the right body—mine. not one of them needing your permission, only mine and only to be chosen by my ‘yes’. i am my own soil and my own rain, and wherever i go, i eat the light. i have stories to tell—gossamer threads to leave behind. nothing you can say will stop me. none of your prophecies will make me turn on myself.

© Liezel Graham 2022.

i was really bad at embroidery and knitting and all things home economics, at school. i was, to put it mildly, completely terrified of my teacher. i was everything she could not stand. she liked girls to be neat, and orderly, and feminine, and skilled at domestic things, and from the right sort of families.

i had none of that.

school was in most respects an emotional battlefield for me. looking back i can see the roots of so many things that i treasure in myself today—that i see in my boy, but back then they were all liabilities.

i have made a life out of returning to take back what i wanted—what i was told i would fail at.

thirty-six years after being humiliated in class for my terrible embroidery, i am stitching my words in cursive—free flowing words, a rebellious anthem.

in the greater scheme of things this is nothing, really. people have had to heal from tremendous trauma in their lives. i have had a bit of that too. but, these memories that lodge like a pebble in the shoe? let me tell you the wonderful freedom that comes from going back and taking what you were told you couldn’t have, or couldn’t do, or couldn’t be, because of someone else’s opinion.

enough of this!

go back and fetch what is yours!

stare them down.

nothing to fear but a desiccated opinion and another human being made of flesh and bone, whose warp and weft are interspersed with their own fears.

is this what you want? to die with all those dreams still tightly furled?

{image: my stitching slowly taking shape. i am paying little attention to perfection. knowing that life with domestic violence is not a pretty one.}

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