i constantly feel as though the people i know are saying slanderous things about me when i'm not around, or that they are exchanging mocking/ridiculing glances with each other every time i speak in social situations and i am completely unable to tell whether or not this is pure paranoia or a legitimate concern. in general i just feel mocked a lot by my community and in no way taken seriously, and i'm not really sure why. i feel as though my voice is delegitimated and devalued in social settings before i even open my mouth to speak - i do not ever feel as though i am being listened to - and i don't at all understand why this is.
i don't expect to be popular or well-liked, but i do expect to be respected in spaces where i feel educated enough to voice my opinions or concerns. i don't like being afraid to speak in situations where i know i have something valuable to add and i especially am hurt by the fact that i am then forced to analyze why exactly my voice is devalued among a group of people i consider to be equals.
why should your voice be any more or less legitimate than mine?