My Voice is my Power
By. Jaclyn Norton
my voice was my
it was a lisp at six and loud pitch at nine
which got me grounded for cheering too
loud at baseball games without ever
knowing the rules.
my voice met my sharp tongue at twelve, causing dinners
eaten on the steps of the garage and being told to speak quieter —“six inch voices”—
they would say, a record on replay in my mind
of a song
that wasn’t my own.
my voice was the gateway to question everything, stand up to authority, speak my truth to religion,
and talk myself into oblivion.
at twenty four my voice became
the root of embarrassment,
shame and guilt, rooted in the trenches
of my bones. buried so deep, i didn’t know where to find it.
years of conditioning
taught me using my voice
meant getting in trouble.
using my voice
was talking too loud,
words no one wanted to hear.
and speaking my truth, meant i was doing something wrong.
so my voice grew small. silent.
it became the tightening
in my throat, the air caught in
the passageways of my lungs, the crippling in my chest.
my voice became poems never published and essays entrenched
in computer folders veiled from public view.
my voice turned into the tears behind sunglasses on street corners,
And held back in corners of cafes.
it was the words never spoken,
to lovers and mothers and friends.
but speaking my truth was the only path forward.
in these trenches, lived the source
of my greatest strength.
so once nourished and nurtured and loved,
i told my voice, it was safe
to come out,
take up space, and be heard
for all the colors
of my mind.
at twenty eight
my voice is my power. my voice is my passion,
my voice is my flow and my best friend.
it is the sacred matrimony between my mind
the dialect of my soul.
my voice is mine,
my voice is what i came
into this earth from
and it is the way i will change the world.
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