They say I’m too loud, too odd, too absurd.
They say because I’m smart, I should be calm and mature.
Quiet and calculated.
I’m too easily surprised, too emotive, too outspoken.
Always speaking, saying nothing
But movie references
And gibberish.

I used to be withdrawn, reserved, silent.
I would have shown you nothing, no hint of personality.
Every day I wore my mask,
And every night I wept, alone.
So maybe now I talk too much
Or too loud,
But it hurts less.

You’re never just invisible.
You’re never just unseen.
Everyone talks over you.
Everyone ignores you.
Unheard.
Unfelt.
So what, if now I talk too loud?
It’s better than being invisible.

– Joseph Aldridge, 2017

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