It would happen when the wrong words were ringing in my ears. Those ones meant to subdue; spoken so pin-pointedly that they still leave me feeling cold all over. So I tempered my instinct. I warmed to melting. I questioned my gut-reaction to a situation, or a person, or a “compliment.” And, invariably, I overruled it. I apologized for it with a sheepish smile and a gaze that approached eye contact, but always fell short.
I spent countless hours rationalizing. For neighbors, and strangers, and classmates, and co-workers, and keepers of my misplaced trust.
No. Not spent. Wasted.
I have wasted countless hours of my life trying to convince myself that I'm overreacting, talking myself out of reality and ignoring my gut. My gut was right. Our guts usually are.
It happened when I found the right words. When I read her words, before I heard them. And their power only grew from one medium to the next. She was me. She was all of us. And suddenly, she was everywhere. Not the first, by long shot, but the latest in a long, long line. Igniting us; raising the bar, anew, too high for most of us to reach but damn it we will try. And keep trying. And keep speaking. And keep marching. And keep moving. And keep sharing. And keep shining. And keep rising.