Poems by Aishwarya Shrivastav

I am strong when I am soft

a poem by Aishwarya Shrivastav

I am strong when I am soft
My heart soars up kind words
That wouldn’t soften harsh realities
But maybe hold someone up when they are tired of standing up for too long

I am strong when I am soft
I like to break down with people on bathroom floors like their sadness is mine
I know my crying wouldn’t calm them down
But maybe later we could share a laugh when we run out of tissues and comforting nouns

I am strong when I am soft
I am the first person to say sorry
The last one to say goodbye
I don’t like finishing last
But often, it’s easier to get hurt than hurting someone else

I am strong when I am soft
I dream without apologies for how big my dreams are
Refusing anything that restricts how long the dream will last
I know I have a hundred dreams and I will watch some more
Because I know if I can see them I can be them

I am strong when I am soft
I cry when I am happy and also when I am sad
I cry when I miss my lover and harder when he says I should grow up
I don’t mind him much
Because he also cries when we kiss and I don’t ask him to be a man

I am strong when I am soft
I buy flowers for my friend to put them on his hair
And I am not insecure when he is rocking that floral skirt better than me
Gender is restrictive and he doesn’t need to be your version of
What any gender should look like
We smile so bright and I swear he was so happy he cried
People will fight their own battles and you should let them fight
But stay around a little longer
Just in case they may need you to remind them of what they already know

I am strong when I am soft
I repeat thrice the same sentence for my mother without raising my tone
She didn’t count how many notes she left in our tiffin boxes
On important days of our school
Repeating doesn’t validate her deafness, nor is it a return gift
It is about just being there even when she doesn’t expect me to be around

I am strong when I am soft
I understand power and I don’t equate it with responsibility
I have seen resistance by those who know they can’t fight
Still they rise each day with holding on to hopes tight
I don’t always shout with them, but I like to see how we can still fight things bigger than us
Or how victory is not always about the win but about fighting till our last

I am strong when I am soft
I am strong when I am soft
And I am not ashamed when I say it today
For I have never been stronger than this