Your Words

A child’s handwriting is one of the most distinguishable things in this world. It’s used in signs and advertisements, it adorns the halls of elementary schools and daycares. The tell-tale squiggles of a kid’s first foray into the written world convey so much about what it means to be a child.

When you first begin writing, each letter, painstaking crafted, sprawls across the page loud and undeniable. Each letter, massive in its own right. And why shouldn’t it be? You worked hard to put that image there. You were proud of that letter. Slanted and unsturdy, a child’s writing jumps off the page at you, screaming for you to acknowledge its importance. And it is important. Every child knows their words mean something.

When you first begin writing, sentences scroll along the length of a paragraph. Your words flow right off the edges pages force into your world, defiant of being crammed in such tight quarters. And that’s ok.

But then something strange begins to happen. Year after year, your writing begins to shrink. Those bold, proud, letters beaten down to size, pushed together and subdued by formatting. Crushed into something small and neat, something acceptable to the world around you.

Something professional.

And each year those letters shrink, so does your sense of how important they once were.

Your letters.

It all starts with those letters.

People all start out filled with the knowledge that they’re worth something. That their words are important and their thoughts, no matter how simple, vital to this world. We start out demanding our parents, our teachers, respect our job choices.

I WILL be a fucking princess, damnit!

Or a ninja.

They’re cool too.

But then those letters start to shrink, and the idea of proclaiming yourself to be destined for great and amazing things begins to feel shameful. Embarrassing. And the next time someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, you know better. You say something real. Something sensible.

I want to be a lawyer.

or a teacher.

Those fantastical desires become something you laugh at, years down the line. Just like those scribbles, flowing right off the page. How silly of you, being proud of such chicken scratch.

And for the unlucky ones, the world squeezes in even tighter.

A lawyer? But, your grades aren’t that good. You’ll never be able to pay for school.

How could you possibly teach when you have so much to learn?

And those sensible desires, once fantastic, shrink down even further. Become something attainable.

I want to make a living wage.

I want to survive.

And before you know it, your words, your sense of worth, your feeling of invincibility…

All shrunk down, neat and tidy. Something easy to look at and understand. Something everyone can read without any difficulty.

Your writing can open doors or have you dismissed at one glance. Just like your face, your body, your clothes. Everything you choose to turn whats outside into a reflection of what’s inside is skewed based on what other’s might think. What others might expect. You can’t dress too loud, too provocative. It’s unprofessional. No one will take you seriously.

And you need people to take you seriously. Because if they don’t? What’s attainable becomes what’s impossible. What you need becomes what you don’t have.

And what you wanted? Well, what you wanted never mattered anyways.

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