Sunday, May 15, 2011

It Gets Better Project Video Contributions: "It Gets Better, When" - A Poem with a Message

It Gets Better, When.

A Poem Inspired by The It Gets Better Project

It gets better when your mother stops whispering
in your ear, you’ll never be accepted, you’ll just go
to Hell; when the priest at the pulpit stops
talking and starts listening, when the confessions
are communal reciprocations rather than the drivel
of hierarchy; when insubordination is no longer
necessary because we are more than a manifestation
of a warrior psyche; when we catch up on our role
as human animal rather than fighting blindly
against role-changing: a mother cannot become a father, cannot be
a lover, cannot love another mother; a daughter
cannot stand up to her brother, has to bow down to her father,
should never walk on her own, cannot be alone.

It gets better when your father starts shouting
at the bully within instead of being the bully, turning a debate
into violence; when parent and teacher see one another
in the mirror and know the power of their hate
and their love; when our minds are set
on peaceful cohabitation rather than on how to spin
information to fit our underlying fears and repulsions, when friendship
isn’t merely assimilation: a girl cannot shave her head
and grow her leg hair long, cannot speak about the beauty
of another girl without having it passed around
a cafeteria of laughter; the cafeteria cannot read her words
in silence, has to create an echo for the sake
of self-preservation, cannot linger between madness and silence.

It gets better when your grandfather can look you in the eye
after you tell him you’re a lesbian instead of pacing
around the hot family room and shaking his head
in anxiety; when your grandmother doesn’t try to bribe
you to have sex with a guy because she thinks it will change
your CHOSEN orientation; when your sister is no longer
embarrassed by your pride and does not shush you if you say the word
lesbian so that others can hear it; when your brother calls himself
a fag to take back a word that has been used to dis-empower;
when your family walks with you at a march; when the world stops
blaming the victim for its own intolerance: a shield of connected
hands crossing the chests of the grassroots people, the music
of the oppressed ringing in the ear of the universe,.

It gets better when you start being strategic: when you look
ahead and let your hope for tomorrow, however
it may look, get you through the darkest
of nights; when you come up with a plan to make yourself sustainable
and stick with it even when a million mouths tell you you’re trash;
when you get up every day and tell yourself, I deserve
respect, I deserve to be treated fairly, and when you pat yourself
on the back every time you survive in spite
of the displaced self-hatred— the rampant, generational helter
skelter inside the rotting heartland of a nation
of aboriginals, immigrants, and colonialists. It gets so much better
when you’re financially independent, when you’re on your own
and able to choose with whom and how to spend your time;

when you can choose to be with or be alone, when you can find
someone who loves you and understands that acceptance
is not simply something requested by the queer
community, it’s fundamental to all healthy relationships. It’ll never be perfect,
but it will be a whole lot better when you can step back
from the emotion and take apart the words and actions
that formerly wounded you. It gets better, it gets better, and your children
will look to you to hear the same words, they might see you
more clearly, perhaps, that you are now able to see
yourself. See yourself, see yourself through, and it’s sure
to get better. When you muster up the courage to face
your greatest fear, the power that you think others’ have over
you will vanish— you will dis-empower the disabling fear
when you imagine the worst that can happen, face it, speak
it, bring it out of the shadows, bake it in direct sunlight, mold it
into something new: something made by you, something
to show others who have never in their lives heard anyone
say, What didn’t kill me made me stronger.