When I was little, my mother used to tell me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In my teenage years, she declared, “You’d be perfect if you didn’t have a mouth.” My mother meant well. She was trying to raise a daughter that would be easily accepted into society —someone to be seen (and even better, seen as pretty) but not heard (unless saying something pleasant). And in many ways, it worked. As a balance, I also had a dash of my father’s rebelliousness, which resulted in heartache for my mother and me.

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