I don’t quite remember when I lost my voice
Or even why I lost it at all,
Although I do have my suspicions.
Thinking back, it’s not like I was encouraged much to speak up.
I was always the girl with an answer in class
With the power to annoy everybody else just by raising my hand.
“Nerd” they taunted, or “teacher’s pet”.
My peers taught me that it is undesirable to be clever.
My teacher said that I should give someone else a chance,
Implying that I should only speak up when everybody else is comfortable with it.
They all clipped my wings and stopped me from flying,
Cut up my cape and turned it into a blanket.
I’m sure it was an accident though;
Their hands must have slipped with the scissors.
Most children learn how to talk from their parents
But mine also taught me how not to talk,
Or specifically, when not to talk.
They told me I could swoop in with a verbal diamond,
But only when their attention wasn’t elsewhere;
On their phone screens, for example.
I found myself whispering my words,
Scared that they wouldn’t hear me,
Or even scared that they would.
“Did you hear what I said?”
My voice, cracking as my throat suffers it’s own form of earthquake
And caves in on itself.
So that’s why I no longer raise my hand in class
And why I no longer speak at home.
I even find my ‘friends’,
Especially of the male variety,
Are used to talking over me
As if my voice is less important than their own voices
Which are just somehow naturally megaphoned.
Sometimes it’s as if I’m not even talking at all.
But I swear my voice is important.
I, at least, find myself interesting.
I must be mute.
That’s the only explanation.
Because why else would someone choose not to listen to what a brilliantly intelligent young woman has to say?
You tell me.