Your Voice: A Student Publication


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Your Voice: A Student Publication


Your Voice: A Student Publication


Angie’s College Essay


The conditions of my prison were dreadful. My cell was cold, confined, and isolating. No matter how hard I wailed and screamed, my captor was unforgiving. So despite my rage, I accepted the shackles placed onto me and endured the rest of my excruciating sentence. Until- yes- finally! After eons of confinement, I saw my captor emerging from the darkness, finally coming to let me out! 

“Okay Angie, 5 minutes is up. You can come out of time-out,” my mom sighed, exasperated.

I jumped out of the chair that sat facing the wall in the corner of my living room, liberated from my imprisonment. I was finally free! However, soon, maybe even later that day, I’d find myself back in the same chair, serving another sentence for some crime or another. 

This occurrence was all too familiar to me. I had been labeled as a “rambunctious” kid from an early age, and I was often disciplined for it. However, I never felt like I was ever doing anything particularly criminal. I remember distinctly- my worst offense- was in the sandbox of my elementary school, when a boy in my class tauntingly told me that girls couldn’t do karate, and dared me to punch him. So I did, squarely in the stomach. I was sent home, with my recess privileges taken away for a whole week while the boy was treated like a survivor of a near-death experience. In retrospect, I know what I did was wrong, however it always made me furious that everyone dismissed his rude comment once I stepped out of line. 

And while I no longer get time-outs for my misbehavior, I still feel a familiar anger when I notice this double standard. In every facet of life, the standard of conduct I’ve been held to has always been far stricter than my male counterparts. My mistakes are less forgivable, and any imperfection I make means not being feminine enough. 

However, more recently, I’ve found distinctive power in my adherence to the standards that I find unfair. Last fall, a project in my AP Lang class about the demonization of women’s anger led me to a rage room with five other girls from my class. Once finding myself holding a crowbar in line with a glass bottle, I discovered how cathartic anger could be. Not only this, but my classmates and I took comfort in sharing stories about the things that fueled our anger, like the sensationalization of women’s reproductive rights being stripped away, comments made to us scrutinizing our sexuality or undermining our emotionality, and how dystopian living in this world as a woman can feel. Our anger became collaborative as we joined forces to accomplish a shared goal. Our anger became productive and desirable.

My experience taught me that I didn’t need to be passive about the things I find to be unfair. In fact, challenging injustice requires breaking a few rules. And while I might have been used to feeling defeated when I was younger, I now know I don’t have to accept the things that I have the ability to challenge; I can use my voice. As head of my school’s online publication, I’ve found catharsis and great reward in publishing essays on contemporary issues that reach not only my school’s community, but my city’s community at large. Not only this, but my position allows me to elevate the voices in my community that might otherwise go unheard. 

I might be taking a risk by claiming that in continuing my education, I am excited to break some rules, but I truly believe that’s the only way that people can be change-makers. Not only am I more conscientious of the world around me, but I’m eager to take action in order to remedy the problems I see. So while I’ve retired from punching anyone in sandbox, I’m now comfortable using my voice. 

Photo by Andrea Cassani on Unsplash

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    Caroline BelangerDec 7, 2023 at 5:54 PM

    Love this Angie!!