A classmate once asked me if I had any shame. I replied that I did. Whether she believed me or not I don’t remember.
I speak up. People have tried to shut me up all my life. I’ve never conformed to their boxes and never will. I want to be free. Any boxes I am locked in are of my own accord and that’s far more preferable to being locked in theirs. At least it’s my choice.
When I do not act according to the stereotypes commonly given to my gender, age, ethnicity, or what have you, people get upset. They feel lied to or find it inappropriate. They become angry. As if I have betrayed them just by being myself.
I didn’t know this when I was younger. Only that they had a certain mold they were trying to force me into. It made me angrier. It made me want to speak up.
For me, speaking up was my only freedom. My only defense. My only way of fighting back.
No matter how self conscious people make me feel about it, I will not stop. I will put thought into it and speak up as I always do. Words are all I have that is mine and only mine. My choices are my own. Choice and words are linked inextricably for me.
If you met me, you would think me confident, without any insecurities on my need to speak. That’s false. I hide my weakness just as you do. Just as anyone does. While I do reveal some of the innermost depths of my heart at times, it is purely for the education of others . There’s a lot I will not say until I’m absolutely sure I must.
The truth is, I am too tactful at times. Out of politeness, I won’t speak up if you laugh at or poke fun at me. I don’t like to make things difficult. It’s better to have smooth relations with others. Even if I don’t care for it, I’ve gotten used to it. Then my frustration builds up until I can’t ignore it anymore.
Next time, I won’t be as polite. I’ll tell you outright. It fits the culture we are both in better. Sometimes things must be said. I might have a panic attack or two, but it’s better than having people misunderstand me like this.
Next time, then. Next time.