I have been hushed too much for being me. Though I was raised to be true to myself I hushed myself to keep secrets, to smooth moods, to stabilize situations that felt too tumultuous, to hold together things that seemed to turn to water in my fingers.
I pressed my knuckles against my lips without even realizing I was doing it. I covered my mouth with my hand when I felt anxious and never noticed.
“It’s better for everyone. Keep the big picture in mind. It’ll blow over faster, there will be less of a mess. Better just you than everyone else. Find the bright side.”
Hushed by peers for speaking up, for speaking out, for being different. Hushed by other women who require specific social tiers.
“Don’t make waves, definitely hold your thoughts, and dress a little more conventionally. Earn your place at the table, on the sidelines, in break-room cliques, work functions, school events.”
Hushed by men for wanting to be seen by them as truly human, as more than a pretty, smiling doll to be taken out and played with, and then tossed into corners until I was wanted again. A head filled with thoughts and a heart burning wild, I am more, so much more.
“Don’t overwhelm men with your emotions so much and things will go better. Just be a little less…you know, ‘you’. “
Less of me.
Be less of me and things will go better and I’ll be more palatable to others.
Less of me.
Less of you.
But I won’t be hushed. I won’t be less. My silences helped on needed levels inside long ago, but strangled me far more than it was worth.
So I will bend, and I will grow, and I will learn and I will adapt but I will not be less and I will not be hushed anymore.
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