I Will Not Adjust Anymore For Your Comfort

 

Today, I am thankful for all of it

Everything that shook me

Everything that broke me

Because today, I know better

Because today, I see the purpose of it all.

 

I was told – girl, dim it down

Don’t take up space

Don’t do anything that draws attention

Try and stay invisible

Lower your voice

No one likes a loud girl!

 

Don’t wear that

Don’t walk like that

Don’t talk like that

Put your head down and

Work silently;

Be humble

Tolerate, accommodate – they said

Have opinions? Well, keep it to yourself

No one needs to hear that

Said the well-wishers quite lovingly

 

But all I heard in that was

“You Don’t Matter”

You are not welcome as you are!

So, I followed the advice-

In hopes of acceptance,

In hopes to fit in.

 

I quietened myself

I became subdued

I questioned my thoughts,

I toned down my voice

I over-analyzed everything

Thought through a million times before I spoke

 

Oh, I didn’t want to rock the boat, you see

I am the peace-keeper, they said

Oh what an honor!

When did I get that title? I wondered

Despite all the adjustments

Cutting off my edges

Making myself palatable for others

Diminishing myself

Blending into oblivion

Doing all of it and more

Diligently in hopes

To be seen and to be heard

As one of them

And it still wasn’t enough

 

You still are a nobody

You still don’t belong

 

That last straw,

When your self-respect takes the hit

Your values take a beating

That moment when you realize

You don’t recognize yourself

Of who you have become

In all this process of fitting in.

You realize

You have lost yourself

 

I’m done

Done with the adjustments

Here, I am giving back the invisibility cloak

That you gifted me, so lovingly

Let me tell you

It didn’t protect me; I still got hurt

So here,

I don’t need it anymore

 

I am going be my unaltered self

Oh, does that make you uncomfortable?

Am I being too loud for you?

Is my light blinding you?

Guess what? I don’t care

 

You try damage control

And so you try “othering”

Play the victim card

Then bring out the Guilt tripping

Throw in insults

Call me names

Get sarcastic

Play mind-games

Well, carry on,

You can keep playing alone

‘Cos I am not playing that game

 

I bring out my whole self

Whether you like it or not

I bring my opinions to the table

Whether you want to hear it or not

I don’t need your acceptance

Hell, I don’t even want to belong to your club!

 

I am me

I am free

No dimming

No dumbing

As Raw and Real as I can be!

 

– Kalpana Manivannan

 

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