Writing Prompt: Speak Up

[About Cat Hartliebe]

I picked up a writing prompts book. It’s more for journal entries than anything else, but I can take the questions or comments as a poem starter or story starter. Whatever I come up with will get posted. I hope to keep blog posts of this nature more consistent. It’s going to depend on my health and use of time.

Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? Were you scared? What ended up happening?

Yes and no. Or really more, not enough. There has been lots of time I pointed out things only to get into shouting matches with friends and family stating how worthless I am. No matter how much logic you use or facts or anything, it comes down to them hurting you with words. Because humans have a tendency to feel attacked.

I’m good at attacking.

I was trained young to stop. To not speak up. To ignore it. To feign ignorance. I know it was a training. I was taught to silently accept everything even if it hurt me. Because fighting hurt me more. Still fighting meant there is a chance someone else will be hurt less.

I weigh my battles. I weigh how likely something will turn into a shouting match versus a debate. I don’t mind debates. But you can’t debate someone who believes in myths. There are so many people who don’t realize what they are saying or doing. Even if you point it out, they just laugh it off.

Treated like shit.

I’ve mentioned how my family treats me like shit.

This is part of that. My words, my knowledge, it means nothing to them. Because I am less than. To them, I am less than. I will always be considered less than. Nothing I say or do will matter to them.

So I weigh my options. Every time. Can I ignore it right now and patch up the issue afterwards? Is there anything I can say that won’t get me verbally abused or worse?

I am always terrified. I saw a lot of pain growing up. My father was quite abusive. He still is, but in a different way than when I was a child. It damaged me. It damages my child. It damaged everyone who grew up with him.

And my mother still sees nothing wrong with it.

She taught me to weigh before acting. To think of the outcomes. Because fighting my father left people unconscious. So when I see something wrong, I want to speak up. More often than not, I’m dead silent. I flee the problem. I cry.

I can’t more often than not speak up. Because I know what pain is. I’ve received pain. I’ve been hurt. And I’ve watched others be hurt even more. And I can’t put myself through that. I can’t fight back.

And I’m very sorry. As much as I wish I could walk into battle (and I know there will be times I do, because I do speak up plenty.), I’m probably going to sit on the sidelines or hide in the closet.

I am not out as a LGBT+ to my family. As much as all the signs if you’re looking are there to say this person is queer, they don’t know. I’ll never be a ‘they’ to them. Even if it hurts to use ‘she’ for me and ‘he’ hurts my child… That’s the world I am trapped in.

I cannot fight it. I cannot fight for my disability. I cannot fight for my rights and protection. I cannot fight to allowed to speak up. I cannot fight for my gender or non conformity.

And I am so very sorry. It’s not that I don’t support you. I wish for equality. My words all say that. I want everyone to be accepted as is. If you read anything of mine you’ll realize that. But I cannot speak up.

I am sorry.


[About Cat Hartliebe]

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