The Art of Disobedience

I have a special love for disobedience.

A woman who sees the boxes her life is supposed to check. Who shakes her head no. Who says, I want something more incredible.

A young man who watches his father run from tenderness and vulnerability. Who decides, I’ll take a whole emotional life.

It wears many clothes, but underneath, the soul of disobedience is the same: I won’t obey unwritten rules I don’t believe in.

These unwritten rules are the air we breathe. They are what we call ordinary and normal.

Your poetry is cute, they coo patronizingly to us, and you could never make a living with it.

Who are you to think you could start your own business or win an election? they belittle us.

Everyone else has masters degrees and families by now, they upbraid us, get it together already.

Keep quiet, you don’t know what you’re talking about, they scold us, what will people think?

These unwritten rules shush us and shrink us; they spit on our aspirations. They do little to make our life meaningful and a lot to make it ordinary.

Defying them may be the hardest work we do. But sometimes, it is in disobedience that we begin the reach towards a more fulfilling life.

The Lightning Notes is funded by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I'd be grateful if you'd consider donating. Click to Donate!