Listen, but don’t you dare talk. Pay attention to the words I say, but don’t think for a moment that I’ll pay attention to yours. Sit there and put those ears to good use. Forget that you were born with a mind that thinks and a voice that speaks. Listen, but don’t you dare talk.
You sit there, with your arms crossed over the table and your head nestled comfortably on top of them. Your back is hunched over, and you let out a deep sigh. The restaurant hustles and bustles around you, it’s quite busy tonight. Chatter from all around the restaurant fills your ears, but your mind doesn’t make a move to decode any of it. It’ll be useless anyway. The loudest voices in your mind find their source to the adults at your table. They somehow manage to talk about everything and nothing all at the same time. You had once indulged yourself in the conversation, listening carefully, voicing your opinions once in a while. Soon you gave up, dejected, realizing that no one at the table was even attempting to listen to you, and found yourself in your current position. Wishing desperately to just go home, lay in your warm bed and cuddle yourself into your blankets.
Why don’t they listen to you? Is your voice not loud enough? Are your thoughts unclear and incoherent? Are your opinions not valid? Are the thoughts that you form of your own free will worthless? No. Your voice is loud enough. It’s loud enough to wake the dead. Your thoughts are clear and coherent. Your opinions are just as valid as the adults at the table and your thoughts are aren’t worthless, they’re priceless.
Your mom sharply reprimands you, “Hands off the table! Sit straight!” and she goes right back to the adult conversation. You wish she could still see all that you hide, but over the years you’ve learnt to hide it so well that even your mother doesn’t realize your desperate pleas of wanting to just go home. Your desperate pleas of wanting to be heard. Soon, your mom makes an observation that make your ears perk: the chandeliers above the table look like upside down cakes. Your heart falls into the depths of your stomach. That was the first thing you had said when everyone had first come in. The cherry on top was that you distinctly remember her standing right next to you when you had said it.
So, why don’t they listen? They suppress your voice for reasons beyond comprehension. If your thoughts are priceless, then why don’t they lend an ear when you’re the one talking. Why do they listen when someone else says the same thing you did ages ago? Maybe your voice just isn’t credible enough.
You’re not only sad to find that your mom didn’t listen, you’re also frustrated now. Along with the desperate pleas that want their voice to be heard, a new voice makes its way into your head. This one is of distress, this voice just wants to yell out all thoughts in your head. More importantly, it just wants someone to listen, listen to the voice that everyone has suppressed, listen to you just screaming.
Once you reach a certain time in your life, once you step out into the real world, everyone has an expectation of you. To listen, to lend your ear to them indefinitely. Yet, they lack the ability to lend their ear to you, no matter what you are going through. All your thoughts remain in your head, like caged birds who never were free.