As a woman, what does it mean to find your voice?
As I come to the close of my fourth decade I’m beginning to explore what has always been unknown territory for me. I believe my story is the same as many women out there struggling to find their voice and truly be heard. As a little girl I was taught that how I looked was more important than what I said. That what I said only got attention when it was it was disrespectful or inappropriate. When I was asked for my opinion it was because the people asking needed validation, not because they really wanted or cared about my opinion. Years of conditioning, “being seen and not heard”, led to a great deal of bottled up emotions that had no outlet for expression. And expressing them ultimately led to apologies for my “outburst.”
I have a daughter who is 19. Not only does she have a voice, she owns it, the good, the bad and the ugly. She doesn’t apologize for speaking her thoughts and expressing her emotions. She says loving things when she is feeling grateful. She won’t apologize if she truly isn’t sorry. She only ever speaks her truth. Take it or leave it. She is the antithesis of me.
I remember telling her when she was about 9 and being bullied by a classmate, “Don’t let her take your power. The minute you start believing what she is saying to you and about you, she has won. She has taken your power and your voice.” Funny thing is, as I was telling her this, bestowing this nugget of wisdom, I realized I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I had allowed people to bully me and steal my voice and my power my whole life.
Now, at 49, I’m working really hard to find my voice and speak my truth. Many around me don’t like it. Many don’t like what I finally have to say. I figure that as long as I come from a place of love, with no malicious intent, whatever they “hear” me saying is up to them to decipher. This is not an easy task for me. The little voice in my head keeps saying “say it, you can say it, don’t be afraid.”
So, with all of that long-winded back history, I would like to introduce this blog to the world. This is another way for me to find my voice, express my thoughts and hopefully connect with other women (and men) who feel like they have so much wisdom to offer if people will really listen to them.