My Verbal Space

By Izzy Gravano, TIWP Student

I think about the verbal space as a balloon or brown paper bag with an opening at one end, breathing in….and out. The bad stuff filling it up as an inhale, then an exhale with relief. Words dance on the sound waves like a bow shot from an arrow going in for the kill. The silence has been punctured and destroyed because his language makes some feel chastised. Makes me feel inferior. His relentless banter has no filter, no conscious. Even if I try to read twitter or scribble on my desk, I can’t tune him out. I don’t know if he means to harm, but there is no verbal space left when he walks in the room. And so when he says that he isn’t sexist or doesn’t agree that political correctness is important, I often think to myself, “think about the silence you break for the wrong reason. Think about the girl you talk over. Or the disrespect implied when you refuse to use proper pronouns or labels. It is not an issue of political correctness. It has to do with being a good human. It has to do with realizing the effect one has over another and that taking up the verbal space—my verbal space—is sexist and suffocating.”

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