Warrior Stories: Whose Opinion Matters Most?

From the Archives: 12 September 2016

Once upon a very long time ago in the land of childhood
freedom of speech was delivered with authority,
received with bruising confusion and metabolized into shame.

Sitting at the base of the pedestal I had prepared for her,
longing for approval, hoping for love
I received an appraisal of my being.

'You are shallow, scattered and always seeking the limelight.'
Her words— dry, unequivocal, succinct — claim the space between us
I react- bruised, confused and exposed. It's hard to breathe through the pain
'Stop crying. I'm entitled to my opinion, you know.'
She's watching my face like a hawk
I crumble. I cry.

Dazed, my thoughts twist and search for a way forward
We are all entitled to our own opinion, aren't we?


This did not feel like that. I don't know how to dare to disagree

More powerful than even my mom, she is the boss. Her opinion matters most.

This appraisal of my being repeated through the years, delivered with the same dry, succinct authority until one day...

I left

Like an earworm in my spirit, the appraisal lodged deep within me

It appeared I couldn't left home without it.

Each time a new idea, invention, desire, intention found me
Each time opportunity found my door
I explored only enough to relieve the creative pressure
I hid the landscape of possibility from my view
Sometimes mostly, I hid myself.

Then one day I explored too far
and forgot about hiding in plain sight

I tasted the waters of true self
Collapsing under years of confusion disguised as bravado
I walked away from my house, my child, my well-secured life.

... and walked straight into another appraisal of my being,
this time with an added twist of fate
'I also believe you are incapable of love.'
Her words—dry, unequivocal, succinct— filled the space between us
I heard the pedestal break.

The air remained open.
Where confusion once reigned, I allowed choice to claim the space
Where bruises once marked the pain, I felt resilience now shine through.
This time, I found my voice— quiet, confident and true
For now I knew who's opinion of myself mattered most. Mine.