Congratulations to Saarah Stanford who entered the Chaeli Campaign 2020 Freedom Competition, and was a category runner-up in the poetry section. Her poem entitled “A Definition” earned her a cash prize, and will be featured on the Inclusive Arts Collective’s Facebook page.

A Definition

When they ask me what is freedom
They're looking for a calculated factual answer.
An answer that I practised for just this moment.
But the words fall like rocks off my tongue
Each syllable a dagger to my soul.
The crimson flowing like the ocean
A sentence of false hope.
The current pushing me down to a dark cold lonely abyss
Wondering if I will ever taste that sweetness.
The meaning of the word freedom,
A word that has no one meaning

Freedom is the ability to be myself without permission.
But sadly I am not in that position:
You see I am trapped in a society that says "do you boo" but not too you
Because being too "you" is a crime.
One where you must serve time
Behind the invisible bars of their prying eyes
In a jail where I am fed images of what they say is beauty and happiness
till I think it was my idea.
They give wings but take away my blue skies
And paint a smile on my face just like theirs
And tell me this is freedom.

But deep down I know the truth,
And I pray for the day we all open our eyes from this nightmare dressed as a daydream.
The day I can be free.
The day their silent judgment releases me
And the practiced lines of perfection stop weighing me down.
The day where I can run like the wind
And chase my dreams without the fear of failure.
Where the honey rays of the sun dance on my brown but still beautiful skin,
Where I can let my natural hair down I feel good.
Where the blue skies never turn grey
And childhood innocence never dies.
The day being myself isn't a crime punishable by social death.
The day freedom becomes a feeling not a definition.

Saarah Standford
Chaeli Campaign Freedom Competition