Photo: Yasmine Diaz

I left

Because I understood at too young of an age that I should be ashamed of my body.


Because it was painfully clear that my brothers were of greater value than my sisters and I.


Because I was taught that when I menstruated I was impure.


Because I was to be responsible to a man my entire life.


Because the family’s reputation was more important than my well-being or happiness.


Because I disagreed with all of this.


Because my sister was forced to marry a man who would turn out to be a violent and abusive husband


and when she confided to our parents of his abuse, they told her to go back and try again


because a man is permitted to beat his wife.


Because I was to have no choice in the person I would marry.


Because nothing was worth sacrificing the freedom I wanted and knew I deserved.


Because had I ever expressed what I truly felt, I would likely not be alive today.