“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense. (xxvi)” ~ Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature
I’ve written before about how I value strange, different, unique souls. (Probably because I relate; I am one.)
Who needs bland when a splash of turquoise, or better yet, fuchsia, is an option?
Who needs ‘follows all rules, obeys all edicts’ when ‘god-damn, let’s make something totally new’ is available?
Why use a map when you can explore instead? What if you discover new lands? What if you coin new words?
What if you forge an unbreakable spirit?
“Do not be afraid to color outside the lines. Take risks and do not be afraid to fail. Know that when the world knocks you down, the best revenge is to get up and continue forging ahead.Do not be afraid to be different or to stand up for what’s right. Never quiet your voice to make someone else feel comfortable. No one remembers the person that fits in. It’s the one who stands out that people will not be able to forget.” ~ Nancy Arroyo Ruffin, Letters to My Daughter: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems about Love, Pride, and Identity
The people I’ve most admired didn’t maintain the status quo. They pushed the edges of what was deemed possible. They picked up a brush or a chisel and found the beauty in a dusky sunset or the particular being hidden inside the rock. They wore plaid pants and polka dots and colored their hair red or pink or blue.
They wrote songs about sex, drugs, rock n’ roll; they sang from their brokenness, their raw, unfettered guts and marrow; they channeled long poems, spilling images into every waterway within and without.
They wore hats made of sparrow’s nests.
They savored magic and mayhem and moonlight on still water.
So, unbind, untangle & cut yourself loose.
What are you waiting for?
Will you live your life or wait for permission to step outside your cage?
Will you dance the foxtrot or the box step?
Will you drip paint and build a psychedelic birdhouse? Will you cut strips of gold fabric and quilt the sun to the sky?
Will you kiss your blind poetic heart?
Burn some god damn bridges. Embrace folly!
Why not be you?
Why not believe in your own moxie?
What have you possibly got to lose?
Shavawn M. Berry’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Huffington Post, elephant journal, Journey of the Heart: Women’s Spiritual Poetry, Olentangy Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Vagina – The Zine, Rebelle Society, The Cancer Poetry Project 2, Kinema Poetics, Kalliope, Poet Lore, Westview – A Journal of Western Oklahoma, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Concho River Review, North Atlantic Review, Synapse, Living Buddhism, Blue Mountain Arts/SPS, and Poetry Seattle. Her technique essay on the dramatic monologue/persona poem is featured in a poetry database published in 2013 by Ebsco Publishing. In 1998, she received her MPW in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where she specialized in Creative Nonfiction and Memoir.
Ms. Berry teaches writing at Arizona State University where she just completed a 2013 Lincoln Ethics Teaching Fellowship. You can follow her on Facebook or read more of her work on her blog. A portfolio featuring a selection of her essays, blog postings, and prose is available at Shavawnberry.contently.com.