upon a turquoise threshold
I hold on to you tighter
I stroke these moments
of damaged velvet with
hearing you breathe
no longer I and you
no longer black and white
I wish I could see
with your eyes
walk with your privileges
I swallow my words
like glass become tangled
in sheets of doubts
at the closed door
wondering the direction
the sun's rays will fall
I want a feeling of light
I want to be turned
on that pedestal
I belong. I have forgotten myself. I have forsaken myself; my voice, my love, my soul.
I have looked upon myself and found me wanting. I allowed those fears and doubts inside to marry up with those controlling critical voices outside. Together they solidified into a giant insurmountable wall around me; my voice, my truth, my soul.
And each day I added a brick into the wall. With each job and gig and publication I received based on some manufactured voice, l made the charade harder to let go. This voice, I became an expert in, as this voice fitted in, this voice was good enough for them.
This false voice was based on fear. Watered down and weak and accepted, keep-them-laughing-in-their-seats kind of voice.
But I'm here today, right now, telling you; all those fearful, doubting, critical, 'I'm not enough kind of voices', both internal amd external, to fuck right off.
I mean it. Fuck off. All you've done is silenced me, muzzled me, white-washed me. Turned me into a house nigger. Yes I'll be real good. I'll not speak or step out of line. Or be different.
I'll be good real good. I'll not do or say anything to make you feel uncomfortable. Do anything you want to me. Beat me. Humiliate me. Shame me. I'll just keep on smiling, good. Look at my teeth.
I've played my part so well that you don't have to police me any more. I've internalised all this hate that I police myself.
You can't curse nobody. Look at you. You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, he say, you nothing at all.
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker.
Fuck 'em. You are not me. I am not my fears. I am not small and silent. I am not compliant. I am complicit no more.
I am a black woman from a rich ancestral lineage. I come from a people who fought and suffered and died so I could live. Deal with it.
I don't need your raggedy-arse fears and criticism and dirty looks. You said those things to keep me in my place. To keep me from fulling my full potential. My true potential.
It's over. You and all your cronies. The power you had over me is gone. I have seen the light. And I'd rather live my life my way. True to me.
I'm unique. There ain't ever gonna be anyone like me on this here earth again. So it's my birthright to live my life right by me. The real, authentic me. The whole me you've been trying desperately to keep in a box. The wild me you've tried to shame and silence.
You ain't gonna do that any more. I am my own queen, I have sovereignty. I have the power. Walk away now. Go on, fuck off.
You're not welcome around here anymore. You don't belong.
Dr. Sheree Mack is a writer and artist, with expertise in Black British Women's Poetry. She's currently working on a creative non-fiction novel as well as a poetry collection about Rewilding.