This time I am saying NO

When I was little

I asked my mother

What will I be

She said pretty but discreet

 

When I told my mom

I had a boyfriend

She was just relieved

rape was not the story

 

When he held my shoulder

and turned me around

I was just thankful

That he did not hit me

 

When I was little

I asked my mother

What will I be

She said pretty like fairies

But be careful on taxies

If I am ever on one

Call someone,

so they know about my whereabouts

Or pretend to cough like I am sick

So he won’t lay a finger on me

 

When I was in junior high

My mom educated me to dress ugly

Pretty girls get into troubles

She said,

I know that from experience,

Listen to your mother

 

When I walked through the basketball team

In high school

I felt like I had to shrink

Because the way they looked at me

Unanimously

Worried about what they may do to me

 

When I walked alone on the dark lonely streets

I am always afraid,

Of the shadow behind me

Wondering if that shadow belongs to me

Or another man

 

When I am safely home from a party

I need to text my friends

to inform them about my safety

It never occurred to me

That my male friends don’t have to do the same

 

When I am alone with a strange man in the elevator

I worry from the top floor to the lobby

If he would take advantage of me

 

When a boy in elementary school

Wrote a letter to me

Which says “I hope you get raped soon”

I did not say a thing.

 

When my best friend in high school

Pulled his girlfriend’s hair

And forced her to go down on him

I did not say a thing

 

When he caught my arm on the street

And asked if we can be friends

I said no

He asked why

so I said okay

because I’d rather block him silently

Then making a scene

That time

I did not say a thing

 

When a guy at brass monkey groped me

I did not say a thing

When he threw things at me

Just because he was angry at something

I did not say a thing

When I am wearing a mini dress

And he thinks he has the right to touch me

As if I was asking for it

I did not say a thing

 

When this is the third time in this month

That three women were dismembered by different men

For saying no

 

This time

I am not staying silent anymore

 

This time

I am saying no

 

For the three women that died from brutal hands

I say no

To this society that favors man

I say no

To this world that men feel safe walking

alone and women don’t

I say no

 

Women,

We have the right to say no

without being punished.

No more violence

No more rape

No more death and cruel murder case.

 

Men,

when you witness a woman saying no

respect her

 

that is the only thing you need to do

respect a woman

when she says no

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Letter to The 10 Years Ago Me

Dear me,

 

When your brother told you

Being chubby will greatly affect your popularity

His words, you should not believe.

 

Please, don’t eat half an apple a day

don’t exercise 5 hours a day

Just so you can feel pretty

You are beautiful, trust me, I know

You don’t have to be skinny to feel pretty

Or only feel happy when you’re hungry

You are one and only

 

Go out and eat

Go have fun with your mates

You’re just a kid

Stop counting the calories

I know it’s hard

When everyone believes in the same thing

The skinnier the better

 

But skinny girls bleed

And their wounds will never leave

Eating disorder is something you will later see

 

Don’t drink that whiskey

It is the beginning of your travesty

Don’t drink that whiskey

Just because he dared you to

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because you will soon drown in it

Cannot live without it

Cannot feel safe without it

Cannot exist without it

 

Don’t drink that whiskey

It will make you consider suicide

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because you have depression

And you just don’t know that yet

Depression and whiskey are not the combination

To fix your frustration

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because I know deeply you love yourself

 

When he forced you to touch him

Say no

when he said you’re too old to be this timid

say no

when he asked you to stay the night

say no

because if you don’t

it would be the second time you die

soul stolen

by the devil you love

heart broken

because he loves himself more than he loves you

and you do too

 

when you tried to jump out of the window

please don’t

when you tried to cut yourself

please don’t

when you swallowed all those pills

please don’t

 

I know it’s hard

I know how you feel

I have been there

I know

 

For now, the future is unknown

For now, the future is hollow

But please know

You will live over 21 years old

I know it’s hard to imagine

A life span that long

When suicide is the only thing you can think about

But that day will come

And on that day

You will not believe

how strong you have been

how you saved yourself

how you picked yourself up from the ground

how you stood tall when all you could think about

was how many times you have died

 

a few years after that

you will find love

love is not a man

love is in the mirror

love is the people you have touched

love is something you will one day know

 

a few years after that

you will still have depression

you will still feel like drowning

but this time you won’t be alone

this time

you are not just depression any more

this time

you will fly

high and away

with the people you find beautiful

 

trust me when I say

this day will come

trust me

I have been there

I know

 

sincerely,

me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Meaning

When we do something over and over again

It loses its meaning

 

We say I love you to each other

Over and over again

And it loses its meaning

 

We kiss over and over again

And it loses its meaning

 

We talk about our days

Over and over again

And it loses its meaning

 

I breathe and breathe again

Until it loses its meaning

 

I am drowning in this ocean of lost meaning

Soaking in despondency

But you are on a safe boat

Not rocky nor defeated

 

I am drowning in this ocean of lost meaning

You reached out your hand

Attempting to pull me back

I see your eyes, shining

Like how you’ve always looked at me

Full of hope and affection

I’m afraid I can’t live up to your expectation

 

You reached out your hand

With that smile on your face

The smile a bit brisky

A bit naughty

 

You’ve gazed at me with those eyes and smiles

Since the beginning of our stories

The voices in my head is in repetition

About how one day

I’ll look at you like that

But by then you will look at me

like how I’m looking at you now

 

You ask what can be done

To get me back on the boat

And I say no to every suggestion

I guess because of self-loathing

 

I think I need to drown

After all, I have fought and lost

Perhaps in the water is where I belong

This ocean of lost meaning