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  • kchanaharris

Speak the Truth

When I was in high school we had to write a poem for a workshop. I was going through a rough patch at home and wrote something meaningful to me. My teacher asked me if I had copied it from somewhere.

Thanks, I guess?

What I wrote touched a nerve and soon I had teachers asking me if I was ok. I remember so clearly blurting something out and then immediately regretting it- I’ve said too much already! I started to cry and a friend held me. I’ll never forget that fully accepting hug.

For a long time I didn’t write anything at all. I wore the clothes everyone wore. I spoke the same vernacular. I assumed everyone had challenges in their lives, but maybe not like *mine.* Messy and uncomfortable ones.

(Spoiler: everyone has messy and uncomfortable challenges. Everyone.)

Recently at a talk I gave, an audience member asked me how I address the big issues facing our Orthodox Jewish community. I told her that I feel obligated to speak the things most people are afraid to say.

What changed?

I know I don’t need to bare my soul to each and every person out there. I do know that there are issues everyone faces- universal truths- that many people will not address for a host of different reasons.

As a convert, a free thinker, and a writer, I am always going to stand out. I can either get comfortable with that, or get better at hiding.

I did the hiding thing for awhile. It didn’t work out.

So I’ll continue to write poems that touch a nerve. I’ll keep touching on subjects that are taboo but need to be addressed. I don’t care if I’m the first- I was never going to fit in anyway!

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