A Story Like Mine

via Jason Koerner/Getty Images for E11EVEN
via Jason Koerner/Getty Images for E11EVEN

On Saturday, millions of people flooded city streets around the world for the second Women’s March, one year since President Shithole took office. In 2018, the protest felt a bit more organized than its inaugural iteration: The Women’s March made real steps into becoming something that isn’t so damn white, something with a better defined message, something that will hopefully continue, ceasing only when real (inclusive and intersectional) progress is made. Until then, it’s important to listen to the stories of others, to learn from them, and to work to protect those around you.


In that vein, Halsey, the pop voice responsible for radio hits like “Closer,” “Him & I” and “Bad at Love,” gave one of the most powerful speeches at the New York City Women’s march:


In her speech, performed as a poem, Halsey details the abuses experienced by friends dating back to early adolescence, and those she’s faced in life (and has been excruciatingly honest about in the past—instances of rape and assault, of being forced to perform the night of a miscarriage.)

I’ve revisited her poem multiple times since Saturday and it leaves me with goosebumps—for her bravery, her honesty, and her fucking anger. Let’s not forget these words as we enter Year Two.


Watch it above. And read the full transcript below:

It’s 2009
and I’m 14 and I’m crying.
Not really sure where I am,
but I’m holding the hand
of my best friend Sam
in the waiting room of a Planned
The air is sterile and clean
The walls are that “not grey but green”
And the lights are so bright they could burn a hole through the seam
Of my jeans.
And my phone is buzzing in the pocket.
My mom is asking me
If I remembered my keys
Cause she’s closing the door
and she needs to lock it.
But I can’t tell my mom
Where I’ve gone
I can’t tell anyone at all
You see my best friend Sam
was raped by a man
that we knew cause he worked
In the after school program.
And he held her down
with her textbooks beside her
And he covered her mouth and then he came...
inside her.
So now I’m with Sam
At the place with a plan
Waiting for the results of a medical exam
And she’s praying
she doesn’t need an abortion.
She couldn’t afford it
Her parents would “like totally kill her”
It’s 2002
and my family just moved
The only people I know are my mom’s friend Sue
And her son.
He’s got a case of matchbox cars
And he says that he’ll teach me
to play the guitar
If I just keep quiet
And the stairwell beside
apartment 1245
Will haunt me in my sleep
long as I’m alive
And I’m too young to know
why it aches in my thighs
But I must lie I must lie...
It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy
And I sleep in his bed and
I just learned to drive
And he’s older than me
And he drinks whisky neat
And he’s paying for everything,
(The adult things not cheap)
We’ve been fighting a lot
Almost 10 Times a week.
But he still wants to have sex
And I just want to sleep
He says I can’t say no to him
That this much I owe to him
He buys my dinners,
so I need to blow him
And he’s taken to forcing me
down on my knees
I’m confused
cause he’s hurting me
while he says “please”
And “he’s only a man”,
and these things he “just needs”
He’s my boyfriend
So why am I filled with unease?
It’s 2017 and I live like a queen
And I’ve followed damn near
every one of my dreams
I’m invincible!
and I’m so fucking naive...
I believe I’m protected
cause I live on a screen
Nobody would dare
act that way around me.
I have earned my protection,
eternally clean...
Till a man that I trust
gets his hands
in my pants
But I don’t want none of that?
I just wanted to dance?
And I wake up the next morning
like I’m in a trance
And there’s blood
My blood...
Is that my blood?
Wait hol-hold on a minute.
You see I’ve worked every day
since I was 18.
I’ve toured every where
from Japan to Mar a Lago,
I even went on stage
that night in Chicago
when I was having a miscarriage.
I pied the piper! I put on a diaper!
And sang out my spleen
to a room full of teens
You can’t put your hands on me?
You don’t know what my body has been through.
I’m supposed to be safe now
I’ve earned it.
The year is 2018, and I’ve realized
That nobody is safe long as she is alive
And every friend that I know
Has a story like mine.
And the world tells me that we should take it as a compliment.
But heroes like Ashley
and Simone and gabby
McKayla and Gaga,
Rosario, Ali.
Remind me this is the beginning
it’s not the finale.
And that’s why we are here,
and that’s why we rally.
It’s about Olympians
and a medical resident
And not one fucking word
from the man who is president
It’s about closed doors
secrets and legs in stilettos
From Hollywood Hills
to the projects and ghettos
When babies are ripped
from the arms of teen mothers;
and child brides globally
cry under covers
Who don’t have a voice
on the magazine covers
And you can’t walk anywhere
if your legs aren’t covered
They tell us take cover....
But we are not free
until all of us are free.
So love your neighbor
Please treat her kindly
Ask her her story
Then shut up and listen
Black Asian poor wealthy
Trans Cis Muslim Christian
And then yell.
At the top of your lungs.
Be a voice for all those
who have prisoner tongues,
for the people who had grow up
way too young,
there is work to be done
there are songs to be sung,
Lord knows there’s a war to be won.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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