poetry

Enough Is Enough. {poetry}

 

I’m scared.

Before I can even gather my things, there’s a crowd waiting at the doors.

They are pointing at me, elbowing each other, evaluating me.

As soon as I step off the bus, they are calling out and blocking my way.

Someone takes my bag and starts walking to a waiting car.

I’m not strong enough to take the bag back, and too tired to argue.

I’m defensive.

I’m constantly asking, “Is he being friendly, or is he unsafe?”

I’m confronted with the subtle gaze of a predator when I get in the car.

“You’re beautiful” comes from his mouth as an assessment of my objective worth.

I accept this unwelcome assessment as a compliment, hoping to avoid confrontation.

I’m careful to smile just enough, but not too wide.

I laugh just a little, but not anything more.

My every sound, gesture, and reaction will be interpreted as invitation or insult.

I’m unsafe.

I have to inspect the water he offers for signs of tampering.

We keep picking up random passengers, and I don’t know if I can trust them.

I can’t understand his words, only the grunts and glances he tosses my way.

I’m enraged.

I’m overheating in my sweater and it feels like a better option than exposing any skin.

I met his unwelcome valuation with a quiet “Thank you.”

And now he seems to think he can touch me.

I keep pulling my sleeve over my tattoo.

I have to hide myself to stay safe.

I don’t brush him away, but instead stay silent.

I’m furious.

Now he’s charging double the price.

He says I can pay him with a kiss.

Instead of telling him off, I throw money at him and run.

I’m on the other side of the globe, with nowhere to go for help.

I’m sad.

Because this happens everywhere. This happens in my First World home, my Third World explorations, and all the worlds in between.

Everywhere I go, I’m scared, defensive, enraged, furious, and sad.

I ask myself:

“Did I do something to invite this?”

“Was there some social cue I didn’t navigate correctly?”

“Am I unaware of cultural norms?”

“Was I too permissive?”

“Am I too attractive?”

I sit here apologizing for my femininity, making excuses for the predator who tried to tear me apart. I feel a simmering rage, but it goes beyond this man. Beyond his uninvited stares, touches, and words. Beyond his audacity and entitlement. Beyond the violation of my boundaries.

The rage I feel so deeply is directed at myself. For being scared, for being polite, for accepting what wasn’t wanted. For permitting this to happen.

Enough is enough.

No longer will I apologize for my beauty.

No longer will I hide myself.

No longer will I fear my body’s ability to provoke desire.

No longer will “be polite” filter my words and actions.

No longer will I stay quiet.

No longer will I suppress my rage.

No longer will I blame myself.

No longer will I accept fear and anger as a baseline.

It’s time to speak up, and I’m speaking out loud.

Enough is enough.

 

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KelsieSilva-NetoKelsie Silva-Neto is a traveling Yoga teacher on a global adventure to rediscover her buried self. She is sharing this journey wholeheartedly and openly, in hopes of empowering others to share their own — free of judgment, shame, and fear. You can follow her adventure via her blog or connect via email.

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