I was taught not to cry. Tears were unacceptable. Even while you were being dragged outside of a moving vehicle, even while she screamed maniacally into the night threatening you with everything she could, tears were not allowed. You learned to shut your mouth and accept the fact that you were not a human being. That is how you survived, by accepting silence as your only savior. A human has the right to express fear, or worry, or disagreement but someone who is bred on abuse is not allowed those concepts. They aren’t even dreams. We are not allowed to feel anything out loud. We bottle our emotions and pray only to be unseen. That is survival. Today is the only day we can focus on.
Shut your mouth. You do not have a right to speak. No one will listen to you. No one cares. Those words are burned into your every thought. Their words turn you against yourself.
We survive by keeping quiet. We survive by being unseen. We survive by being less than…. anything, less than everyone.
I still remember the first time I shared openly about but a fraction of the experiences I have endured. I remember sobbing through my words as my hands shook the paper that guided me. I shared about my loss and how it changed my life. I can still recall how humiliatingly vulnerable I felt as tears fell unwillingly against my cheeks. That little girl screamed inside, still feeling terror with each drop that warmed my face. Still waiting to be punished for speaking about the things that I was taught not to acknowledge.
I can still feel her glare burning into my soul. It was beaten into my beating heart. To survive, we keep our mouths shut. We do not speak about what happens behind closed doors. We do not speak to those who may or may not help us. We do not tell. We do not stand up, because that could mean your life. That could mean being humiliated and scarred forever. That could mean death. That could mean DEATH.
I’m tired of being silenced about the things that matter, especially when I have friends and loved ones who have yet to find the strength behind their beautiful voices. Especially when I know I can finally speak because I’m not that scared little girl, I’m not that depressed teenager, I’m not that lost young lady anymore. We must speak for those who are still trying to simply survive. We must speak out when we have the strength to do so. Those who can, must help those who cannot.
And if YOU want me to stay silent, then you have no idea how hard and long I have fought to become the woman I am today.
Try to silence me, I dare you.
This is for all those who can’t find the words, I love you. You are not alone. You are not invisible. You are not less than. You are worthy and you deserve every good thing. I believe in you. I will listen to you. When you are ready, I am here. Waiting, for you, for as long as it takes. I am here.