We Will Not Make Ourselves Smaller for the Benefit of Small Men

Nyree MacPherson
Illustration by Maris Mapolski

In short: I refuse.

I will not disfigure or contort my heart, my needs, or my brilliance so that I am more palatable to those who have no appreciation.

I will not make myself smaller for the benefit of small men with small minds, small dreams, and small expectations or understanding of who I am and what I am capable of.

I will not shrink or hide my desire for a rich and powerful kind of love for the social and sexual convenience of a man who wants to keep my company but ‘just doesn’t want to give things labels’. I won’t pretend my needs can permanently bend to fit in that size of a box. I will be enormous in my love and let it be a beacon.

I will not be thinner for the pleasure or pride of men who think my body is anything but glorious because it is mine. I will be thick and robust and covered in glitter, just so they don’t miss me.

I will not make myself meek or quiet so that foolish or inconsiderate men can be heard more clearly. If they can’t share the spotlight, they haven’t earned their place in it.

I will not allow my evenings of bliss or my hours of passionate work to be cut down to minutes for the education of men who can’t be bothered to learn.

I will not defer my own care or lower its standard so that careless men can feel useful in the process.

I will not apologize or hold back tears or speak with an even tone to assuage the guilt of a man who has hurt me. I absolutely will not say ‘it’s ok’ when it’s not. I will weep and hurt and I will let him see the size of the pain exactly as it is. If he feels guilt he can repent by learning do the work, correct himself and make amends.

I will not be self-deprecating when I am brilliant.

I will not share credit if credit is not due.

I will not carry more weight if that weight is not evenly yoked.

I will not diminish what I am capable of so that less capable men can flourish.

I will take up exactly the amount of space in this world that I occupy.

No more, no less.

I refuse to become small.

All of our brilliance, kindness, care, success, skill, and beauty are things that grew because we tended them for our own benefit, survival, and pride. We didn’t spend our lives listening and learning and fighting our way to become who we are just to cut off our limbs so that we might fit more easily into a meager allotment of space. We will keep the company of friends and lovers who want us to grow and be bigger, more brilliant, and more radiant than we can conceive. We will make enormous room for each other and together we will be giants and we will revel in shouting across continents. But we will not reduce what we already are.

We will not make ourselves smaller for the benefit of small men.

Nyree MacPherson

Written by

One loud broad.

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