White Girl Tears

I cry,
not because I am fragile,
like some silver-spooned infant
wanting her next dollar,
or jewel
at your expense.

Like my heart,
my nails are natural,
rich in the hard work
of fighting back rape,
scraping surfaces of multiple jobs
and benign promotions
that left me no better financially,
yet depleted energetically.

I cry,
not because I am weak,
like a daddy’s princess
told she is beautiful
and perfect
only to discover she’s not.

My father left before I was two,
leaving me to face
and myself.
Still, I stood for others,
including you.

I want no trophy
or community service award.
I didn’t challenge racists close to me
and risk my loss of freedom
for a benign handshake
or false idol.

I stood up,
spoke up,
and chose my career
because I relate to you.

I see your humanity,
your hurts,
your fears,
and all you hold back,
behind the tears you refuse to show.

I cry,
not because you hurt my feelings
like the boy who called me fat
when I was.

My white girl tears flow from
seeking harmony
and fearing disunion

Like you.

Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator based in New York City. She is the founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick, where we create resolution. Her holistic, integrative approach draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor, as well as her legal, ADR, EEOC, FINRA, and ICERM training. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition). She currently serves as the Main ICERM Representative to the United Nations.