of what is draped before my closed eyes.
I begin to feel as if
we’re both on the same side.
Acceptance is the trick
that has been pulled from the magician’s hat,
and my eyes are mesmerized,
looking left while the real trick happens stage right.
But then I look closer
with critical eyes and I see it
I almost missed it, but now I see
hiding behind the acceptance, it’s judgment.
Not the kind I welcome
where my labor is rewarded, my efforts recognized,
but quite the opposite.
I am hindered by this judgment.
Expected to never be quite as good,
to never measure up.
And then as if to remind me of its presence
fabric brushes the edge of my nose
cueing my eyes to flit open
and stare at the elaborate pattern
of the veil before my face
and my awareness returns.
I can once again clearly see the divide
between me and them,
between us and them.
I can see it in the looks of surprise,
I can hear it in the words they speak.
The subtext booms
and rings eternally in my ears:
“That’s pretty good for a…
Not at the same level as…
Will always be less than…”
But I refuse
to view myself that way
to be imprisoned behind this veil.
I will not forget its presence,
I will not forget who placed it there.
Instead I use that
knowledge to drive me.
I won’t be “pretty good for a…”
I will simply be good.
I don’t care to be “at the same level as…”
I strive to surpass that level and the one above it.
I won’t view myself as “less than…”
because I am not.
Though I’ve been pushed behind the veil
my crystal vision shows me both sides
It will not trap me, it will not bind me
it will not break me.
Because it is my ability to see
that allows me to be free.