My English professor once told me
to pursue a career in academia
instead of trying to be a writer.
He liked the precise and rhythmic
poems of Emily Dickinson,
and my meter was all over the place.
I realize now, he was just another
in the long line of men
who would tell me what I
couldn’t do, what I should not try
what wasn’t within my reach.
I realize now what he was telling me
that very same lie that I’d been told
and will be told for the rest of my life.
The lie is that life isn’t changeable,
that we can’t do whatever the hell we want
that we can’t cut around perceptions
and be whatever we want to be.
We say it so often it’s cliche now -
you can do whatever you want to do,
whatever you dream, they say.
Well, fuck, here’s the thing -
it’s true. It’s really, painfully true.
You can do anything
you believe you can do.
It’s a lesson you have to teach yourself.
It’s the believing that’s the hardest.
That’s the magic, the leap across the darkest chasm.
The work is in your mind,
and once you get past that
no old professor, no fathers,
no husbands or bosses
can stop you.