Have you ever stood in a room full of people just the way I stand here today and felt the pressing need to think twice about what you are to speak. The feeling whether your opinion is correct, that moment when you think of the aftermath, the consequences and exit the stage without a word.
You ll know what I am talking about If you ve ever stopped yourself from writing or speaking something to prevent a possible shot in the head or maybe some acid on the face.
Let’s start seventeen years when your truly was born as a naked female child. The umbilical cord was cut and voila, new life. A pat on the back to make sure I cry..because crying wasn’t an expression but a way to open my lungs and open they did.
As I grew into a tiny toddler, a year later, I realised we cry to express and people will go to lengths to keep me from crying.
At two I discovered I could talk. frame tiny words.
At four, society threw me into a pool of Pleases, thankyous, sorrys and excusemes.
“Say sorry when expressing apology.
say please when asking a favour.
say thanks to express gratitude.
say excuse me to when in need to be excused.. ”
But what no one ever told me was..
that Please was more of a verb, Excusemes don’t work and
to always give gratitude , never expect.
At five, my baby brother was born and I saw him grow up. he wasn’t allowed to cry when he was two.. They now tell me its a feminine expression.
Also, funnily, I was told by a teacher, years later to laugh softly as a loud laughter is apparently masculine.
Society taught me expressions were gender biased.
When I turned ten, I learnt saying,
“Wow, you look lovely”,is okay.
“Eww..that dress looks ugly” isn’t..
Society taught me to say what they wish to hear.
I was thirteen and a young woman when I wasn’t allowed to burp.
At fourteen, love wasn’t an expression but a verb, learnt it the hard way, society.
So they asked me to speak up. well I did have a voice, didn’t I?
At fifteen, my best friend was forcibly taken to bed by her boyfriend even after repeatedly saying NO! but No is the new Yes, they tell me. it was consensual, they tell me.
Society taught me that expressions will be misinterpreted, no point speaking.
At sixteen, I was aware of the world and every headline screamed at me to do something, society asked me to shut up..
“But..But, s–she was raped”
“No..I know w..who did it”
“This is wrong”
“It was always ”
At seventeen, I was brave enough to raise my voice and write and speak, society told me to hold my tongue or face consequences.
I will turn eighteen in a few months and the threat of acid or rapes or bullets will never stop me from speaking my heart.
Don’t like it.
Don’t read it.
Jé Suis Charlie
I am Charlie.
Never holding my tongue or my pen.
On your face.