This is not a call for you to remember your power in order to be strong because that is such a loaded word. Anyone who has ever been praised for being strong knows how powerless it can make you feel because when the time comes that you actually need to rest or ask for help, it seems like you’re letting down people who depend on you. But like any airplane safety video will tell you, you can’t help anyone until you help yourself. It’s okay to feel small.
When I wrote the poem ‘Hush,’ I felt small. I was working weird hours, not sleeping right, and only just getting help for my anxiety after years of being strong. On one of the many nights when I could not turn my brain off, I spoke to myself as I would a friend: softly, kindly. It worked. I wrote the poem so I could remember it when I needed it, which was often. It would be five years before the lovely editors at Rise Up Review accepted it. What I thought was a poem that was just important to me and rounded out submission packets nicely seemed to resonate with other people who were feeling as scared and boundless as I sometimes do.
I have made broadsides of that poem in order to raise money for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief aid. This contribution also feels small, but that is okay. Poetry is what I can do and what I can give–and that’s not nothing.
Whether you want to buy one of these or not, I encourage you to let yourself feel small. When you know what your limitations are, you’ll know what you’re capable of.