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“Surrounded Yet Alone”

By Anna McClean

Graphic By Sarah Tocci

The pit in my stomach sinks deeper than


when the words leave your mouth.

Suddenly, this is a room of men and me

instead of just a room of


You carry on in conversation

but I am silent and my throat


with sadness and rage

and the words I did not say.

I am already regretting the future moments where I know I will not speak either.

Because you will never understand

and if I try to explain,

I will cry,

and give truth to your infuriating beliefs.

When will you get it?

Why don’t you get it?

My best friend gets it. And so does her mother and my mother and my mother's sister.

Because they feel it.

We feel it

and it’s gut-wrenching.

And I can talk so freely with them

and with every woman I meet

about the rage and the pain and the taking.

All the taking, so much taking.

But I can’t talk about it with you because you’re the taker.

I keep fooling myself thinking that I’m the kind of girl that will be able to speak up because I’m


But every time,

I’m stuck and my vocal cords do not answer to my


Every time, it’s as if they’ve been stolen,

ripped from my body.

The one you think you can control.

The one you strip of rights and serenity and


The one you take

and claim you haven’t.

But if you haven’t stolen anything,

then where did my peace go?

It’s been missing since I truly opened my eyes for the first time.

And not even closing them will bring it back.


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