In defense of my existence: We belong and will be heard


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

It has been brought to my attention that I am quite … controversial. In my natural, outspoken state, it seems my mere voice has incensed quite a number of people. Evidently, sharing my experiences as a person of color has appalled white people to the point where they refuse to accept my truth, which is why I will continue to speak out.

It all began the day I was born, really — a natural clown, I’ve always shared my radical thoughts through humor. Since I was a child, I’ve expressed my frustrations through written jokes, and in recent years, I’ve had the misfortune of being able to share them on Twitter.

To those who don’t know me or about me, this column may seem strange. Perhaps your perception of me is that I’m just another silly writer sharing her scattered thoughts — and in that, you’d be correct.

I’m also a lesbian, Mexican woman who has expressed her frustrated feelings online. In my experience, it has become apparent that people of color cannot voice their anger without repercussions. We are not allowed to be anything but civil.

For years, I’ve hurt my own head attempting to sympathize with the people who threaten my human rights. I’ve tried being peaceful, I’ve tried being kind — and quite frankly, it solves nothing. While I am not advocating for war or violence, I am advocating for civil disobedience and yelling and screaming. I’m advocating for discomfort.

The truth is that my voice was ignored until I began being provocative. It wasn’t until I began tweeting my ridiculous jokes and expressing my angry thoughts that my voice became amplified. To be heard in a nation that still upholds white supremacist values, we must be outrageous and we must be unapologetic. No more will we be silenced, and no more will anyone threaten our voices without facing the consequence that is our loudness, our strength and our desire for justice.

The fact that my mere existence has caused controversy is a sign of the ongoing suppression of our voices. Conservatives get to speak with such confidence and boldness, so why can’t we? When my human rights are threatened, it is free speech; when I respond, it is troublesome and unkind of me.

In my short life, countless attempts have been made to intimidate me and to silence me, but I am not of the belief that we have to fight quietly and politely when the very thing we are fighting for is our right to live. I, as a suffering human being, do not have to behave when I have every right to misbehave.

I do, however, believe in kindness towards ourselves and towards our friends. In our fight for social justice, our greatest gift to ourselves is the preservation of our heart and mental health. If you’re tired of fighting, know that in your exhaustion, you are not alone and in your exhaustion you have every right to dwell. While you rest, I am fighting; when I rest, someone else is fighting. That is how it works until the day we die and new people take over.

No matter how alone we may feel, there is always someone there. We are, after all, under the same moon.

I also believe that one day — perhaps not in my lifetime — we will realize that deciding someone like me shouldn’t have a right to live is not a valid political opinion.

I suppose, after all the controversy, people would expect that I would make my Twitter private. In that belief, they are wrong. If you want good content, outspokenness and boldness, follow my twitter @kaylaannpadilla.