Saturday, December 3


Below is from an application I received for this month's leadership conference.  Read more about it HERE.

Olivia Linn

This is easy because I have been
writing this dream since I was nine.
Piecing together from
tired young crisp yellow heaven
a desire so overwhelming:
            I want to feel the air shiver
with the good and kind words we would speak
to each other like poems,
that would fall from our lips so easily.
Bodies would meet bodies and souls
meet souls with
quiet understanding.
There would still be aching but it would be
            we would help it be less.
We would help each other—what a novel concept.
We would help to lessen the sorrow and
grow our dreams
like scared little seeds that need a
thousand voices of encouragement.
We wouldn't think in terms of winning and losing but in
loving enough.

This is what I hope to give—
my youthful self effervescing dreams for
something bigger than me or
any of us.  My burning self that knows
poetry like a savior.
My wildly impassioned self that fights and loves
            with the same parts.

This self has so much to learn.
As a girl I did not seem to need much guidance
or as if I were in danger of losing my voice.
Later this bravery became slippery and elusive:
without such careful encouragement
            I might have lost it.
I want to learn how to be careful
with girls losing, finding, re-finding fire.
Want to learn treasuring words with equal gratitude and
having real emotions without
losing myself in them
or discounting theirs.

            I am afraid of being in charge of
            making that kind of space.
I am afraid of setting boundaries,
of yelling when I have to,
because there is a
harsher side  to this that demands protection.
I want to learn how to make a space where
every single self you are is okay,
where good intentions are valued,
acceptance and kindness are natural and easy and
truth exists in such abundance
it is hard to hold it all.
I'm afraid I won't be able to hold it all.

But this is also partly Why:
because it is so beautifully possible for me,
to be unafraid to say what I'm afraid of.
Because I have known such kind consciousness,
because I feel at home in the kind of space I
dream of making and

if I have the capacity,
I also have the responsibility
to the work
older, stronger women have
struggled for.
            I am truth-breathing testimony
to the power of this place.  Loving it and
wanting it
so much makes it my work too.

The burning dreamer I am is seeking
a tender and powerful community:
I will labor alongside older,
stronger women,
I will make mistake after mistake,
I will work to fashion out of my
poetry and passion
something useful
because this is
too important
to work for.

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