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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: Don't Tell Me I Can't Cry

Courtesy, Susan Reid
Greta Hardy-Mittell, 15, a student at Middlebury Union High School, responds to a Young Writers Project prompt to write about the 2016 Election.

Don't tell me I can't cry

because I care.

Don't tell me I can't cry

because America has told the world,

has told our children,

that a hardworking, courageous, brilliant woman

can be beaten by the lazy class bully

who doesn't know how to keep his hands to himself.

Don't tell me I can't cry

because the day the glass ceiling

should have shattered,

instead, a bulletproof layer was built

and all the cracks we worked so hard to make

were resealed with words of hate.

Don't tell me I can't cry

when my entire family has been crushed,

the people I love most brought to the ground

because we fought like hell and still lost,

because this is Her story

but it's ours, too.

But don't tell me I can't have hope,

I can't matter,

I can't speak up,

I can't keep pounding at the ceilings and the walls

because sometimes we need to be angry

in order to fight.

Sometimes we need to cry

in order to see clearly

and goddammit, right now we all need 20/20

to see how the world fell apart

and how we can rebuild it.

So don't tell me I can't cry

because I care.

And don't even try to tell me

that I can't care.

Because if you don't

it's because you won't be affected,

because the cards have been stacked in your favor

for so long that one reshuffling won't matter

and you don't love anyone

who's been dealt the wrong hand,

either that, or you're just stupid.

But I'm not.

I don't know how to act

but I know that I have to

and I know that I can.

So unless you know that, too,

do not tell me that I can't cry

because I will anyway.

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