I am The Voice.
“Wipe your face off the earth with acid. I’ll even pay for it. Just do it, you’re so ugly.”
I heard it all the time: while walking down the hallways, or sitting inside class, skimming through a textbook, while eating a snack, or while just waiting for a ride back home. This is just the tip of the iceberg: the huge, glacial edifice of hostility and hatred ran deeper, all through High School and College.
It didn’t matter what I did – or didn’t do – I was me, and that was difficult for people around me to accept. I had my ambitions and dreams. But to them, I was nothing more than a joke, a stimulus for cruel laughter and insults. To them, I was supposed to be invisible, if the earth below didn’t do me a favour by caving in and swallowing me whole.
For years, being the one that got called these unsavoury things, the one that grew up trying to hide or get lost in the crowd in the hallway of High School or College, the one that tried to meld into the background so I was a wallflower, it was an uphill climb. For years, I heard the same thing, laid over me like dollops of thick cream, until it became one with my skin.
Whenever I wanted to try something I thought I might be good at, the words I had heard swilled about in my head. I would lie down until the feeling of wanting to give something a shot went away. Trusted friends were mythical creatures. When people were nice, it felt like they were doing me a favour – or worse still, like they were being nice to get something out of me.
Until I found my voice online, and until this voice of mine was received with a thunderous welcome.
I joined World Pulse on October 21, 2012. When I began posting on World Pulse, I opened a floodgate to a sisterhood of sorts. My sisters from everywhere in the world gave me the love and appreciation that “friends” didn’t. They cared, and they were never ashamed to show that they cared. With that, my voice grew stronger. For the first time, the wind blew in my face and I loved it. I went from strength to strength and tried new things, succeeding at them, even.
That’s what led me to apply for the Voices of the Future Program. Participating in an adventure that would bring forth many, many women like me to the forefront, and encouraging us to be the voices of change, activism and the truth, I look upon this movement as a beacon of light that would take me forward to fight for every cause that I am passionate about: whether it is bullying in schools or rape in conflict.
I was a voice of the past, I am a voice of the Now, and I will always be, the voice of the future.