By Eve Ensler
When you stand,
when you speak up, speak back
when your voice trembles, throat chokes,
when you can’t walk away
can’t pretend it didn’t happen, doesn’t matter
when you were taught all along to be polite
to not make a fuss
not put yourself in the center of things
when it’s so obvious, so unjust
so crazy wrong you can’t imagine anyone could disagree
when you have to say,
have to go
have to fight.
When they come at you from unpredictable directions with every menacing tool,
when they instinctively know
your Achilles heel
or pay researchers to find it.
When they don’t say directly we are practiced sex harassers or we don’t want black people here or we think women should be seen not heard
when they say instead you’re a lousy teacher, a scorned woman, narcissistic egocentric, sophomoric writer got hired on affirmative action, a hack,
It doesn’t require tougher skin.
It requires the suspension of skin.
When nothing in your training
as a women prepared you to be hated, despised, misinterpreted, misunderstood, undermined, reduced, shamed made to feel insane.
When you fall into it.
When you tell yourself it isn’t fair, your life is hard, you already suffered enough.
When you tell yourself you didn’t choose it,
yes you did.
When the group you love more than your life calls you Judas and turns on you.
When the dark hole suddenly grows spikes. Remember your heart is a piñata, you don’t get the gifts ‘til its smashed open.
When you suddenly get hit with issues you never knew were issues which are not really issues except those in power have made them seem like issues—
you didn’t come forward before, you went back to the room, you called him again.
Power under attack is genius at diversion
They have PhDs in it.
When you want to withdraw deeper into the hole.
When all the voices blur into one ugly voice and its somehow the same voice that told you once you were stupid or selfish or wrong and you are suddenly five and thirty five exiled then and now.
You never got the rules.
Cause power owns the rules and reinvents them as they go
When hate is a blinding grenade in your path.
When hate shrapnel’s in your mouth, your stomach, your soul.
When no one can say anything to make it better. When you’re on your knees screaming out.
When that moment comes, when you’re up against the wall.
When you know you have no choice, when the pain is so intense it takes you somewhere else, it takes you out of you and you gets smaller and bigger than it was and you dissolve into the bigger stream and are suddenly connected to all the other ones—no one can touch you there
When you know finally you are good and you didn’t mean more than to tell the truth, didn’t mean to hurt, didn’t mean to upset, but truth does that.
Truth does that
Insane laughter helps
Letters of supporters help
I am over people in power
I am over power
When you speak up speak out speak back, when you find the words you melt power even if they appear to win then, you will never be afraid like that again. When you keep going and don’t give up, the world changes for a lot of people
Women will speak up speak out speak back
Women will know it is possible
It is possible
It is possible
It is possible.