I was seven years old when these words began to follow me around, like phantoms whispering in my ear. In math class, history class, recess. Playing tag, kicking a ball, laughing with my friends. It didn't matter what I was doing; those words were there, stuck to my skin. I breathed them in like shards of glass in my lungs.
I was a freak.
I was different.
I was diseased.
My history, my shame, my burden. It weighed heavy on my back - you could see it pushing me down. Something was there; something was wrong. Something was off about the skinny blonde kid.
The other children could smell it. They were hounds and I was their injured prey. By age 11, it had gotten around my school. I wasn't a virgin - and that made me dirty.
This is what we all have to bear. We live in our separate hells. Solitary confinement for the crime of losing our innocence. We didn't know that others existed.
So maybe you don't really get it - why I broke down sobbing during that melodramatic song. When dozens of rape survivors got onto that stage - at none other than the Academy Awards ceremony. When that woman, known for being bizarre, damaged, other, sang till her lungs burst - and out came a thousand shards of glass.