In honor of International Women’s Day, Michelle Manese was kind enough to allow me to post her piece called “Woman, fight back” below. She is one of the love poets from a group of spoken word artists called Words Anonymous.
I watched her perform this piece last year and it struck such a powerful chord that it was stayed with me every since. I was lucky enough to finally meet the lovely poetess at the Project VOICE performance last week.
You can read more of her works HERE.
Woman, fight back
M Manese // 09162014
The first time she made excuses for him, it was because he was late. He’s just stuck in traffic, she said. He’ll get here eventually. The first time she made excuses for him was not the last.
The first time she stayed silent, she had her knuckles in between her teeth, her head throbbing the way her cheeks were. He had too much to drink, she said. He didn’t mean it. He loves me. He said so. But in between the I love you was too much synonyms for stupid. Telling her she never gets anything right, will never get anything right. And like all lies, when repeated enough, starts sounding like truths.
She also learned the hard way that the worst monsters are not the ones in storybooks; but rather, the ones brave enough to look at you straight in the eye, share your bed, kiss your lips and tell you they love you. As if the passion can make the pain go away. As if the words change the fact that you’re a wreck of black and blue. It doesn’t. What helps is fighting back;
So woman, learn to fight back. Learn early that venom takes on more than one form, that words hurt just as much as fists does, sometimes even more. But in turn, learn as well that in your vein rests bravery, be not afraid to bleed for your freedom. Your hands are not made of glass even if he is trying to break you. You are of skin and hardwood, be sturdy enough to defend yourself. Woman, fight back. Know that he’s only as powerful as you let him be, and that you are more powerful if you just let yourself see. Woman, fight back. Know his words shouldn’t hold weight enough to bring you down, never make him your world when you’re just another name he won’t remember. Woman, fight back. Make him learn why you will be the one he won’t be able to forget. Turn the tables around, make the ground shake. Woman, fight back. If you ever feel like you can’t breathe anymore when there isn’t even hands around your throat, leave before they even start to approach. Woman, fight back. Make him learn what happens when he ignores the word ‘no’. That you’re capable of making hell manifest from within your eyes if you stare at him long enough. So stare at him long enough. Make him sweat. Make him squirm. Make him regret ever laying a finger on you. Use your claws, leave marks on his flesh. Spin him with your own web, show him real power. Show him what strength really is. Show him ‘woman’. Make him tremble in your presence instead, see how he likes it. Scare him, show him the monster he created in you, make him beg for forgiveness. Give it to him. Astound him with your ability to forgive and be reborn. You are endless, you are alive. Understand that he’s an empty shell of a person, more breakable than you ever were, incapable of kindness. Show him kindness. Leave him. And never apologize for breaking free. Be free. Live again. Love again. Be alive again. And from now on, woman, fight back.