Learning to Trust the Power of My Voice
The farther along I get in my writing adventure, the more I see the strength of my words.
For much of my life, I felt silenced and pushed aside as an afterthought or nuisance. I learned to keep quiet so I wouldn’t call attention to myself, or be put in the spotlight. I sensed that in order to keep the peace with others, I had to consistently play small.
I used to think the problem was me. What I know now, is that the patriarchal system under which we all operate, depends on everyone to play small. The status quo demands that we all conform to a specific box, and the minute we deviate from that, we face social stigma and shaming. I still remember being shamed for everything from my name to how quiet I was. Knowing what I know now, I understand my experience is not unique, by any means.
Over the last two years that I’ve been writing, I’ve also been working to heal the wounds of this shaming. I’ve begun to recognize why I was encouraged to play small, and why I felt I was always “too much” for anyone to handle. Through using the voice I’ve been taught to stifle, I’ve come to think of this same voice as my greatest gift.
I’ve never felt as comfortable owning my voice as I do now. I credit all the healing work I’ve done - through writing and otherwise - with that change in my self-perception. I’ve worked for years to love being in my own skin against the crowds that said I shouldn’t. I’ve had to claw my way out of the depths of trauma to come out the other side. Finally, after years of trying to fit in and conform to whatever is expected of me, I’m defining for myself what I want to do and who to be. There’s an enormous freedom in the realization I wasn’t told to play small because there was something flawed inside me, but because people around me were uncomfortable with my strong opinions.
Others have said writing won’t change anyone’s mind about a topic, and it won’t have any impact, but I disagree with that stance. The more I read about equality and systems of oppression, the more I feel stirred awake from a decades-long slumber. The more I challenge who I think I’m supposed to be and connect to my inner guidance, the more I feel myself transforming into who I’m really meant to be. In this way, writing has been a commanding force of change in my life, and I suspect it can be an equally powerful force in others’ lives, as well.
My awakening and transformation has been many years in the making. I’ve traveled down this path through dance, yoga, meditation, reading on psychology and relationships, working with children as a preschool teacher, and now, of course, through writing. I never expected or imagined I’d write professionally. When I began, it was a way to get out all the thoughts I had which remained unexpressed in my daily life as a working single mom. Over time, it’s given me a method to fully settle into my bones what I’ve learned along my path. In my nearly two years of blogging, I’ve covered many topics: rape culture, racism, cultural appropriation, and my struggle with PTSD, to name a few. Through writing, I’ve learned to appreciate the potency of my words.
Once we own the power of our authentic voices, no one can take that away from us. The more I write, the more grounded in my brilliance I feel. I’m proud to have carved out a space on the web where I advocate for the rights of other rape survivors, and I hope to continue doing so for as long as I can. I’m glad that I’ve put words to my healing process, and I hope it can help someone else who is struggling with the same. The more I speak out, the stronger I become. With this strength, I know I can make a difference, and I won’t let anyone tell me I can’t.
This post previously appeared on The Good Men Project.