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I Won't Give Up: Why I Rise

Day two of our "Why I Rise" blog series comes from Vagina Monologues cast member, Amber Brown.  Join us on Feb 14

"I just had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am."

 This song, performed by Jason Mraz, always sends me back, and the notes move through my body like a drink of summertime lemonade, a little sour and also sweet. It also reminds me of why I rise. It describes a love affair, and embraces the idea of loving someone so much you let them go. I recommend listening to it, if you haven't already. I could share statistics, facts, and information that I've learned about sexual assault, rape, and intimate partner violence. I could emphatically tell you that I absolutely do not believe anyone has the right to harm another human being, and we should stand up for those who can't speak so vocally. I could yell, and I could scream, I could shake my fist and I could shout. I won't do that here. I rise for softer reasons, gentler reasons, because the only way out of the darkness of pain, violence, and the things we do to each other is through love. I love that people are dancing, because this embraces the grace of life and forgiveness: you may knock me down, bruise my arm, and hurt my soul. But still, I will dance. Still, I will rise. You may tell me I'm less, call me fat, call me stupid- but still I will dance. Anyone can do it- some of my favorite dances at summer camp had folks in wheelchairs. No matter where they were, their souls still rose up to dance. So, this is my love poem- imagine music, and people in swirling, glitter skirts dancing in the background as a woman speaks her truth

Showered in Glitter

by Amber Brown


I rise because I can see sparkles on the beaches of my memory

Glimmering as I run my hands in circles on the sand

Under a deep blue twilight sky lit by a white crescent moon

I rise because it's hard to wash out glitter

It gets stuck in the funniest places

You want to share it with the world, throwing it up and watching it fall

But sometimes you have to shine your own heart to a polish

I remember why I fell, like when he bowled me over with a hug

Or I lay my head in a pile on his knee, crying for what we'd done

I rise because I fell down the rabbit hole into a darkened world

And it left me like a ripened banana, with too many bruises

I rise because I remember the piled up on my yoga mat me

Crying into my blanket pile

So now, when the memories pile on like lead blankets,

Through the notes of a song or the leftover stains on my t-shirts

I remember why I rise

I rise because I've tasted the ashes on my lips at the bottom of the pit

And learned how it felt to fly away

I rise because for a few brief moments I tasted the sweetness of a soul mirrored from my own

It's hard to wash out glitter

It gets all stuck in your hair, staying through 65 hot showers

And as the hair piles in the drain, you watch your memories swirl down

But the glitter stays

I rise because I fell

Like New Year's confetti when I was 16, thrown up and shuddered down to the unforgiving floor

Hiding like it does, showing up next December in the couch cushions

I rise because I'm well

Glitter never fades, sometimes it hides in the pockets of your heart, the ones you thought were closed

I rise up off my mat, unsticking my sweaty shaking leg, watching as the ashes turn to strengthened soul

Feeling my body twist into a yoga pose- Warrior I is my favorite

I rise because some can't

I see them crumpled in a pile of gray blankets, and I wish I could show them the ways they can still sparkle

The ways they can, too, rise

The ways they too are warriors

Fortified by hope, buffed by the sandpapers of life's lessons

I rise because I won't give up, on me, or him, or you

I rise because I won't give up on all of us

Sparkling souls having a human experience

I rise because I can

I rise because we can

Stretch ourselves, forgive ourselves, love ourselves, polish our souls like sand in an oyster

One day we'll all be pearls

I rise because I can

I rise because- I did.


If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual assault and could benefit from legal support and advocacy, please contact the Victim Rights Law Center. logo.png

The Victim Rights Law Center is the first law center in the nation dedicated solely to advocating for the civil legal needs of sexual assault survivors.  The VRLC provides direct legal representation to victims of rape and sexual assault in Massachusetts.  If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, we believe you have the right to make your own choices about how to respond to what has happened to you.  Our goal is to give sexual assault victims information regarding their civil legal needs to reclaim their lives.  

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