I will–An Ode to Myself, by Michelle Ann James


I will – an ode to myself

by Michelle Ann James

(Michelle reads her poem.)

“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the happiest of them all?”
That would be me. Yes. Me.
Happy and in love with myself.
I will celebrate myself like a king would
After his victory.
Conquering patriarchy by its beard.
Then throw a lavish feast, to ravish me
And all those women and men before me
Who held themselves unworthy of debauchery.
I will live for that little girl who was assaulted
Even before she knew she had a vagina.
I will live for that little boy who was groped
Even before he understood what pleasure is.
I will live for that teenage girl
Who feared that discreet knock on her door.
I will live for that pubescent boy
With the story no one would believe.
I will live for that woman
Who slogged her body and heart at the gym
Hoping her man would love her a little more.
I will live for that man
Who sucked it all in and died inside
Because society claims men must not cry.
I will live for all those lives
that patriarchy took.
I will lionize every modicum of my existence
And never shy away from the looking glass.
I will treat myself to rich food
And laugh gallantly.
I will dance and sing to my own rhythm.
And set boundaries –none.
I will strive to be kind and generous.
Humble and wise.
I will glorify my whole being
Relentlessly defend my integrity and pride.
I will not wait for a moment
Or a person
Or a label
Or a phenomenon
To define me or celebrate me.
I will execute my freedom
Most recklessly.
I will live to the fullest and a little more.
I will seek who I am and find her
Bring her to life and let the forces guide her.
I will restore the pride of my clan
I will reclaim every spoil from history
Behold! I will strive to rewrite history
No glory. No shame.
No country. No name.
No pseudonyms. No pretense.
No labels or penance.
Just me. Baring everything.
Never surrendering to somebody’s idea of me.
Never ceasing to be I.
And in a while, you will hear the clatter of hoofs,
Race-less horses and soldiers, hardened from bloody wars.
You will witness a rebellion rising in the east.
Hear! The wind bearing my war cry.
I am the new woman, awakened, reborn.
Flawed and flawless.
Feared and fearless.
No kingdom will have any hold over me.
I am she.
I am me.
And I will be free.
I will.

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