Was it at age 5 when I walked into my mother's room?
Before the sun even had the chance to peek through the clouds.
Still, she was awake, sitting by her window
Crying because of the words that had been said to her,
By a man. A man who promised to be by her side forever.
My little feet, speckled with her tears, moved closer,
Only able to hug her in silence,
… because I was too young to understand.
Was it at age 9 when my best friend came to school and shared a story
Of her lift man that decided her body was more than just her own?
She assured me it was okay because she only lived on the 13th floor.
13, his hand on her shoulder.
11, her breasts are infiltrated by hands that do not belong to her.
9, he slowly moved down to her genitals,
An experience no one should have,
Let alone a 9-year-old on her way to her first day of 3rd grade.
But it's okay because only 5 floors left;
And all she is thinking about is how walking up and down the stairs
Wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
She's now on the 2nd floor, and her new clothes she laid out the night before
In excitement for her first day, don't feel pretty anymore.
But she dusted herself off;
After all, he had been friendly with her since she was 3
… anyway, she was probably too young to understand.
Was it at age 13 when I fell in love with a boy?
The one that taught me that love meant displaying myself
He was probably right—he was older, and older meant more knowledgeable.
And so I did what he said, hoping for a few kind words in return
Because that's what I was desperate for.
Instead, his words struck me like an avalanche.
I crumbled until he told me to stop being foolish;
This is what love is
...and I was just too young to understand.
Was it at age 15 when all the girls decided they were wearing dresses to my birthday party?
But the cuts on my thighs hadn't healed,
So I showed up for my birthday in jeans.
I came home crying but had to cover my mouth so my mother wouldn't hear,
But the friction of the jeans rubbing against the fresh cuts that I had done out of desperation to feel
Were burning,
But I had to stay quiet
…because I was too young to understand.
And now I'm 17,
And I have a dream to write because my words are the voice of everyone,
Everyone that was told they were too young to understand,
But old enough to go through it.
I now see the world in a different light,
My cuts healed,
My anxiety controlled,
And with the gift of voice.
A power to stand my ground.
Now I know,
I was never too young to understand.
…but I wish I never had to.

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