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I know my posts have become more and more sporadic on this little blog as I’ve started grad school but I’m breaking my silence by sharing some important work I’ve been a part of this past month.

This U.S. election season has brought up a lot of emotions, rifts, and challenges for folks across the country, no matter who you voted (or didn’t vote) for. In response to the fear, pain, surprise, and divisiveness this election brought out of us, a group of activists from Brattleboro, VT created a post-election action to generate conversation across the lines that divide us.

Featuring the spoken word poems “Masquerade” (by Prosperous) and “A House Divided” (by me), this action incorporates masks and movement as we reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, how we got here, and where we are going. We performed the action in the beginning of December at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT and in downtown Brattleboro.

Watch the videos of the performances here:

Buzzfeed Community

Youtube

Read my spoken word, “A House Divided”, below. Share it, perform it, use it to start conversations as we figure out how we move forward, together, from here.

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Megan

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“A House Divided”

Division existed from the beginning,

with people whose lives were deemed less than worth living.

There’s always been an upper caste

and a lower class

and hordes of people in between.

And what remained unseen

were the ways in which we

were pitted against each other,

outfitted with weapons to wage war against each other,

taught to mistrust, fear, and hate each other.

Deceived until we believed

both consciously and unconsciously

that for you to be free

meant that I would not be.

That for you to have

meant that I would have not.

That for you to be able to rise

meant that I would be denied.

That you were taking from me,

that you were making me less free,

that you were the problem

because you were here, in my sights.

You were the easiest barrier to fight

because you were in my face

trying to take my place

at the table of freedom and opportunity.

But it didn’t occur to me

that the table was big enough for all of us,

that there was room for all to eat.

I only saw what I wanted to see.

You were the representation

of all my anger and frustration.

And at first it was your group of people

and then you were deemed acceptable

so some other segment of society

had to justifiably take your place

to be the face

of the other

to be “those people”

to be less than people

to be the epitome of evil

to be broken until they were spent

and so on and so forth we went

years upon years

tears upon tears

backs upon backs

until someone said, “Stand up, fight back!”

And we began to rise,

slowly at first, one at a time,

reaching to the person behind us

saying, “Who can break the ties that bind us?”

Praying, “Let love be the tie that binds us.”

We started to see through the haze

began to recognize the ways

we were hurting each other

smothering each other’s souls

with the soles of our feet

as we scrambled up the ladder to be free.

But we didn’t know what to do about it

how do get around it

so the masks came out.

Sometimes they were about protection

sometimes deflection,

a way to face rejection

without having to reveal our brokenness.

Sometimes we didn’t know we were wearing them

they felt like our own skin,

the way they molded to our faces,

fitting in all the right places.

Sometimes we were told to wear them

and then they didn’t fit so well

but we obeyed because they would yell,

“No one would love you

if they knew you.”

Or more calmly they’d say,

“It’s better this way.”

So we masked up and added on the layers

sometimes finding another player

in this game of life

who we felt was just right,

was worth the risk,

worth the immense task

of taking off that first mask.

It was slow progress we made

and with each new wave

another group found themselves welcomed

and loved and affirmed and held.

Yet with each new mask unveiled

those old fears started to resurface

the old voices whispered,

“They don’t deserve this.”

We looked around and didn’t recognize each other

so we put on more masks which made us bolder

to say things we didn’t think we’d say

to change in ways we didn’t think we’d change

to hate people we didn’t think we’d hate.

What some saw as progress

others so as regress.

What some saw as freedom

others saw as a prison.

And so we hid behind our politics and positions,

our old habits and new superstitions

and we went back to people who were like us

who lived in places we lived

who had the same faces we did

who believed what we believed

who felt the same kinds of fears

who cried the same kinds of tears

who prayed like us

who ate like us

who felt rage like us.

And we forgot about everyone else.

It became us and them once again.

Division existed from the beginning,

it’s always been a part of our story

but it doesn’t have to continue to be,

we have another choice.

What’s done is done but we still have our voice.

Find one person who hasn’t felt pain,

who hasn’t felt fear, anger, or shame

who hasn’t hated or been hated

who hasn’t cried or known someone who died.

Find me someone who hasn’t felt hunger

who hasn’t felt alone, misunderstood

Stood upon, stepped on.

Honestly, find me someone who doesn’t bleed

like you do

who doesn’t need to breathe

like you do

who doesn’t need to eat

like you do.

who doesn’t want to be freed

like you do.

Find me someone who isn’t perfectly imperfect

who isn’t flesh and blood and bones and tissue

who isn’t at the molecular level the same as you.

Find me someone who doesn’t have needs

they would do almost anything to meet.

Find me someone right here in this street

that when you look into their eyes

you can deny their humanity,

their dignity, their right to be.

Seek the hand of someone beside you.

Welcome the hand of someone behind you.

This is the start of something new,

a safe place in the midst of the chaos,

a proclamation that it begins with us.

Do we move forward in fear?

We decide.

Do we move forward in love?

We decide

Do we move forward alone?

We decide.

Do we move forward together?

We decide.

These are your neighbors,

these are your people.

These are your neighbors,

these are your people.

Say it, “You are my neighbors,

you are my people.”

All we have is each other.

All we have is moving forward.

There is no going back.

Let’s get off the attack.

Chins up, shoulders back.

It’s time to take off

These masks.

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