The first time it happened, I was eight years old. My friends stop me from singing with them because there are only four girls in our favorite band. I push down the hurt and swallow it whole to silence my anger.
My teacher reprimands me for trying to speak over another student. He interrupted me first. I am twelve years old. I don’t question why I’m the one who should bite their tongue, even as my nails dig crescents into the palms of my hands.
My best friend listens while I talk about a new show I’m watching. But she changes the subject to a comic she was reading. “Way better than that trash,” she says with a laugh. I want to defend it but I don’t know how. I press my lips together and shrug, mustering up a weak smile. It’s not like I owe her an explanation, I think to myself, she can have whatever opinions she wants. Still, her voice starts to grate on my ears.
He tries to stop me but it’s too late.
He doesn’t get to steamroll ever me.
He doesn’t get to say whatever he wants.
He doesn’t get to disrespect me.
This time, he’s going to listen.
And I am done with being silenced