A voice so soft | Overcoming Oppression Pt. VIII

Currently, I’m enrolled in a counseling training program in San Francisco called Interchange. The sessions are comprised of lectures on therapeutic theories and techniques, as well as a lot of practice as both clients and counselors.

This update comes in the form of a poem that I wrote after witnessing my partner go through an intense session of liberation work that addressed how her cultural upbringing as an Asian American, and the resulting oppression, have often prevented her from walking in the power of truth. (You can read the previous updates here.)

A voice so soft 

She spoke with a voice so soft that no one heard her truth
And though honesty was her intention
And love her presence
Shame pushed her into silence
Both she and the world suffered as a result

She mistook submission for belonging
Hesitation for reflex
Anxiety for a filter that lets every burden in
And the world began to expect her fear
Until she believed that freedom and power were reserved for anyone but her

Being unapologetically true required permission that she wouldn't give herself

She sunk beneath every wave of worry, until that sinking feeling converted to posture
She inhaled every aired grievance, until other people's stale sighs composed the oxygen she breathed
She scanned the world with questions, looking for signs that she was okay

Being oppressed was her internalized reality

Until someone became disgusted by how she hid beneath her modesty
Until someone cared enough to call her out
Until someone yelled, "STOP ACTING SMALL!"

Sometimes anger is the most effective vehicle for love

Her eyes flooded, raising up truth from the depths
At last, she stood in power and got to know its feeling
And vulnerability set a stage she never thought was hers

An audience of voices was hushed by humble power on display
Then she spoke in a way so free that no one missed its truth:

"I am still going to speak softly, but that doesn't mean I don't have a lot to say. This is just the volume of my voice. So deal with it."