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My voice is constantly drowned in a sea of noise. I’ve always been a quiet person. In the past, I would try to speak up at the dinner table and no one would hear me, so I would just stop talking and keep what I had to say to myself. At other times, I’ve felt like what I’ve had to say is somehow less important because someone has had it worse than me or they know how to say it better. If someone seems to lose interest in the middle of what I’m saying, I’ve let the subject die even if it means a lot to me.
But I want to be heard.
In the anime Terror on Resonance, the two teenagers Nine and Twelve pose as terrorists named Sphynx One and Sphynx Two. They plant bombs in different locations while taking no casualties as they lead Detective Shibazaki and the Tokyo Metro police on a trail to unravel a conspiracy—a conspiracy that wants to crush what Nine and Twelve have to say to the world.
Years before, Nine, Twelve, and twenty-four other children were handpicked from orphanages to participate in the Athena Experiment: an experiment to drug gifted children into become savants without the mental challenges. However, the experiment was a failure, so the government decided to erase the evidence of the projects’ existence; that meant destroying all the test subjects. Nine and Twelve were the only ones to escape. They were the only ones left to remember the suffering their friends endured.
They don’t want the deaths of their friends to be forgotten, or the murderers to get away with their crime. They want the perpetrators to pay so they never hurt more children again. But above all, they want to be heard. The only way they can get the world’s attention is to become the center of the nation.
It’s sad that the world has become so skeptical, and often for good reason, that it’s hard to tell truth from reality. We have to prove our worth to be heard.
In the film King’s Speech, King George VI, also known as Bertie, has a psychological stutter, thus he has a speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Close to his coronation at Westminster Abbey, Bertie is making preparations for the event and Lionel takes a seat in the royal coronation throne. Bertie is appalled at the man’s audacity and tells him to get up. Lionel refuses. After an argument, this exchange happens:
Lionel: Why should I listen to you?
Bertie: Because I have a voice!
I have a voice, too. It’s one of the many reasons why I let my experiences bleed out onto the articles I write. I no longer believe the lies that my experiences don’t matter. My voice is important, even if I don’t have shiny credentials, or someone has it worse than me, or someone can say it better, or the topic is taboo.
Like Nine and Twelve, I have stories inside of me that I want to get out, that I want to tell the world. I don’t want my voice to be lost in the crowd and forgotten. Talking about my past might make me feel vulnerable, but if it encourages one person, it’s worth it. And sometimes I need to tell my story to be encouraged by someone else.
Though Nine and Twelve gave their lives, their stories were indeed told through Detective Shibazaki and Lisa. At long last justice was brought to those responsible for the Athena Project and the world came to know about the children lost to the cruel experiment. Lisa was no longer the frightened and defenseless girl she was at the beginning of the anime. Through their example she found strength as a young woman. She and Detective Shibazaki will never forget those two boys.
Often I’ve feared someone who knows the context of the stories I tell here will get angry at me or that perhaps I’m being too honest; perhaps I should keep that part of me in its dark closet. But when I see the impact of what my words, my voice, my story can do, that fear fades into the background and I can be proud of my story and confident I’m making a difference in others’ lives. I have a voice and I want to use it to help the world.