She wishes she could disappear because she believes that’s what everyone wants from her: To disappear so that she can be whatever it is they want her to be rather than actually be herself.
She’s thin and delicate and dainty. She’s quiet, so quiet you almost can’t hear her. She doesn’t stomp around the house; her footsteps fall as quietly as a mouse. She slips around corners and down the stairs. When you look at her, you aren’t quite sure if she’s there, or just a ghost. She’s pale, almost translucent, sometimes you might even be able to see through her.
She doesn’t eat too much, say too much, or ask too much. She sits quietly against the wall awaiting an invitation; for someone to notice her and thank her for the quiet. To acknowledge her for being a good girl. For doing exactly what it is she’s supposed to do and for being exactly who they expect her to be.
She doesn’t know who she is because that part of her, the part that was just her, she keeps it in a small box. Long ago she got the message that it was safer for her and for everyone else if she did. She bound herself like a Chinese woman’s feet. She thought that she was supposed to keep it small because that’s what people wanted. But now, she can’t walk. She’s in pain. Oh, she’s pretty when she’s all wrapped up in someone else’s rich stories, but underneath she’s deformed, disfigured, broken, warped, calloused, bruised and scarred.
She’s forgotten how to tell her own story — in fact, she’s even forgotten that she has one to tell. And so let us go now, and whisper in the Whisperer’s ear. Let us remind her of her beauty, her power, her significance. Let’s help her to open up her truth and share it. Let’s help her find her voice. It might come out as a whisper; it might boom from the mountain tops. It might speak or scratch or sing; it’s no matter, as long as it is her’s. It’s in there. Buried under years of forgetting.
It’s time to remember, quiet one. It’s time to take the wrappings off and breath life into your heartbroken flesh. Heal yourself. Start with one word. You can do it. Take a deep breath, close your eyes. You can whisper it, that’s perfect.
The Whisperer inhales, deeply and quietly, her shoulders rise and fall with the effort of respiration.
She says, almost inaudibly.
“no… no… no… no… No… No… NO… NO NO NO NONONONONONONONONONO!”
The “no’s” flood out of her like torrential rainfall, each one louder than the one before it.
As she continues, her translucence fades; she becomes at once more dense and vibrant. Color comes to her cheeks, her eyes remain closed as shining tears escape their squeezed-tight lids.
“NO NO NO NO NO NO NO…”
She continues. It’s as if she has to get all of the unsaid “no’s” out before she can say anything else.
No I do not want to eat that.
No I do not like that dress.
No I do not want to be your friend, or read that book, or take that test.
No you cannot speak to me that way, or say those things about me.
No you cannot touch me.
I said, NO, you cannot touch me.
I am not yours to take. NO!!
She is sobbing now, the Whisperer-No-More, she is wailing in grief and outrage.
And suddenly the torrent of No’s stops. She draws a heaving breath into her lungs
lifts her chin, opens her bright blue eyes to meet mine
and with an icy clarity in her voice and fire in her eyes
The Whisperer-No-More says, quietly and steadily
and walks out into the world to take her place.