whatever I feel they have taken away,
denied access to,
tried to quash in ways so subtle they are impossible to name,
I give to myself.
Today I choose not to wait for permission,
not to wait for somebody to tell me my work is of value,
not to wait – or even expect – acknowledgment, recognition, reward.
I give myself permission. My work is valuable.
This is true whether I am condemned, celebrated or ignored.
I have had moments of glory, and I will have them again:
name in lights, famous for five minutes.
I won’t deny these times are fun.
But just as I refuse to be defined by invisibility,
I evade the clutches of good opinion,
What matters is this:
that I am a child of God,
who has been gifted
to speak and act a truth that comes from an inner authority
that is none other than God.
My truth is part of the rumble
that is shaking the foundations of the systems that oppress.
I feel the pressure of these structures –
concrete upon layers of concrete.
We all feel the pressure.
But when there are a million seeds germinating around,
sending forth roots and tendrils
that crack and prise that cancerous concrete,
how can these structures not be transformed?
The permission, the authority –
it was given to me long ago.
“Take it up,” she says.
Take it up. Take it up.