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Silent, Never More

You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?
So come on come on, come on come on
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions so why let your voice be tamed?
Maybe we’re a little different, there’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows so stop hiding it away
Come on, come on
I wanna sing
I wanna shout
I wanna scream till the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers, I’m not afraid
They can read all about it, read all about it

– “Read All About It” Professor Green

The last decade has been one of secrets for me. It’s been a time of keeping quiet and hiding truths. I spent all of my time protecting everyone else from themselves, fearing my own voice, unable to stand up for myself.

No more.

I’m done stifling my voice, especially out of fear.

I will speak. I will be heard. I will share and uplift and inspire, and in so doing, continue to heal.

In speaking up and finding my voice,

I will very likely offend.

I will definitely sometimes be wrong.

I will not always say the perfect thing in the right way. But that’s not the point.

Perfect and right. I get too preoccupied with those kinds of words. Those absolutes. Absolutes are dangerous and limiting. They promote a narrow focus and limited vision. In my classroom, I have an Aristotle quote on my wall: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” One fear I’ve had that I am conquering is how people are going to respond to my voice. Not just that they might judge me, but I have no tolerance for the “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality. I have little tolerance for it because it is one of my own weaknesses. I like being “right.” I lean toward the self-righteous attitude of “this is how you’re supposed to do it, so just do it that way.” However, I also like weird people and new perspectives and unique ideas. I might not always agree with them, but I do appreciate their perspectives. Aristotle tells me that I can appreciate others’ ideas but do not have to internalize them. It’s good to discuss, to disagree, and to broaden my own mind. But if I feel something is harmful and damaging to myself or my children or my world, I will speak against it.

So how do I share my voice without it getting lost in the hordes of all those others “finding their voice” as they troll the internet or incite conflict or whine incessantly? How can I avoid the self-importance that my voice deserves to be heard over anyone else’s? Truth is, I can’t. But that’s the key: truth.

I’m sharing my truth in the most authentic way I know how. People who value that and connect with it will benefit from it. Those who don’t, don’t have to interact with or acknowledge it. Sometimes I will be melodramatic, cheesy, and ridiculous. Sometimes I will be wise and witty and weird. Sometimes I will entertain and sometimes I will disturb. All of these things will happen because I am all of these things. The gift I have been developing that I must share is courage in my authenticity.

I had to write all of this out to work it out in my own mind, to validate my fears and overcome them, to analyze from multiple angles whether or not I’m really ready to be completely, authentically, vulnerable. I’m not. But I never will be. The only reasons I can think of for staying silent are fear and procrastination. Neither one of those reasons are valid for me.

So it’s time to take the next step, time to move on.

Time to jump.

Time to soar.

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