A poem on facing challenges

One of our SEED community has penned this heartfelt poem to share their feelings and frustration at navigating the work space in the face of adversity. We thank them for their honesty and the courage to share.

The White Mask
When I felt compassion, confidence and drive
You received darkness, threat, aggression
I sang with courage, conviction and honesty
But you preferred the melody of reserved chit-chat
The endless song of polished apologies
I can walk on fire stones
But you gave me a path of broken glass
I offered to shift walls with movement, volume, vibrancy
But you built new walls with collective silence, inertia and your pastel visions
You command that I speak in your words, your tone, your taste
But I cannot
You want me to be your shield when it suits, and silent when it does not
I will not
I will not
You permit my boldness if I remain subservient
A dog unleashed from its chains only when it suits the owner
I am not your wild animal to tame!
Accept me as I am or do not call yourself an ally
Decipher my way of being, as I have yours
So that I may speak with the powerful voice that my ancestors gave me
Difference is my virtue and my source of energy
With your White mask
I suffocate.