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Stop This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Stop.

I hear it all the time. Sometimes it's in a yell from my little brother, when I step on his toys again; it always comes with a weary sigh from my mother, if I ask her where Dad is; or just a silent visual, a red octagon-shaped piece of metal, posted where one street meets the next. It can be a command, a plea, even a joke – a four-letter expression with the power of the world.

Yet I'm a coward. Over-considerate, always eager to please. This one-syllable word, a staple of any two-year-old's vocabulary, has never once passed my lips.

Why tell a person to stop? I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, don't want to seem bossy, don't want to walk over someone the way I've been walked over my entire life. I guess I've learned this from my dad – it's always better to walk away from problems than to face them. Always better to concede, to let someone else win, than to force my own opinion.

I know I'm wrong in not ever setting boundaries. The pain is a cold pit in my stomach on the way to school each day – I know what's waiting for me there. It's the boys, the ones who have never been told to stop by anyone, let alone me.

I was only in kindergarten when Garrett first took my Play-Doh and I didn't ask for it back. Then it was taking my food at lunch, taking my spot next to my friends, taking my backpack on the way home and throwing it on the ground and running over my books with their skateboards. It was taking my self-esteem, my pride and, eventually, my innocence. It was taking everything I possibly had to give. And I never said it. I can't say it. So they don't stop.

Some of the nicer ones take pity on me. They'll nudge me, call me Helen Keller with a grin. They don't realize that I do have thoughts. I have strong opinions, and surprisingly, I have vocal cords to voice them with. It's just not worth it.

But yesterday I realized something. I'm wrong. For I did once say “stop,” thirteen long years ago, when I was chubby-cheeked and bright-eyed and wore flowery dresses and sparkly hair clips. It was a dark night, and I stood in the front doorway of my house, clutching my teddy bear, my eyes clouded with sleep. I screamed it with all my heart, every fiber of my being. And then the word echoed away from the safety of my house and out into the night, where I watched the family car speeding out of our driveway, and with it, my father.

He never came back. And neither has the security I once felt in myself, the belief that my words mattered and that if I told someone to stop, they would listen. When I was a toddler, I had neverending faith in the word. But when you grow up, some things stop.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Rulatowski98 said...
Apr. 18 at 5:45 am
Wow! You are an amazing writer! You put so much feeling and emotion in such a short piece! It's fantastic!
 
snowflakesofmeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23 at 9:05 pm
Hahaha thanks ;)
 
BeanzoinalinThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 23 at 2:32 pm
WOW!!!!! THIS IS AMAZAYN
 
JaclynWeasleyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm
You are an incredible writer! That short story had so much feeling and so much depth.  I was amazed! Please, keep up the awesome work, and never ever stop.
 
snowflakesofmeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm
thank you so much :)
 
finaaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 30, 2013 at 1:15 am
haha thank you!
 
Kindle said...
Aug. 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm
This is really clever! 
 
transparantspirit434This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:22 pm
Holy goodness, I'm speechless. Yup, that's all.
 
goldensnowflakesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm
:) thank you so much
 
Laugh-it-OutThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm
Wow. Im speechless. This is thought provoking, relatable, emotional and raw in all the best ways. I congratulate you on the editors choice and the ability to create something this good. Wow. Amazing job. Keep rockin and writing :)
 
KeepLiving said...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm
This is such a sad story, but you wrote it so beautifully. I love how you begin the story and end it with 'stop'. It surprised me and I love when stories do that. Thank you!
 
goldensnowflakesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm
thank you!! I'm so glad you liked it
 
Iyanna D. said...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm
wow, I can't even describe how great this is. its like amazing
 
goldensnowflakesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm
hahah thank you :)
 
. said...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 8:23 am
Speechles. This is a beautiful piece of writing, a thought provoking article that made me think :)
 
goldensnowflakesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 6:09 pm
thank you :)
 
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