Speak Up for Yourself
“ My parents raised my sisters and I to speak up for injustice and give a voice to the voiceless. I did that. But, I didn’t always speak up for myself,” I told my book club in March. That week we finished reading a chapter about the voice from the book, The Artisan Soul. I felt it necessary to share my story of my voice with the group (Mindful Monday #31 – Voice).
I have always been consistently silent. It’s the hardest thing to know that there are moments in your life that might not have hurt you as much if you had a little more wisdom, life experience or courage. Oh how different things might have been if I acted sooner in moments of torment and teasing (The Unimaginable). If only I had spoken up for myself before my back was against the wall in moments of my life, how different would things have been?
I’ve been thinking about my voice a lot this year because of how my life has changed. By chance, though I do not believe in coincidences, I am home with my family. This week I started to remember moments of my life that I hadn’t thought about in years. I forgot about a series of disappointments that I experienced the spring of my junior year of high school. Each disappointment hurt deeply, because I spent a lot of time and energy, in some cases years, striving for the goals that were not achieved. I was very disappointed and hurt in some cases. I wondered how to respond going forward, I decided to put my foot down and put my focus on different organizations/ endeavors. At the time my decision felt like defiance and pouting. Now that I am older, and after I remembered that experience and the work I did prior to each disappointment, I can assert that I made the right decision. I saw that experience with new eyes and realized that I spoke up for myself, the best way I knew how, in my own way.
I have always spoken up for myself in my own way. When I was betrayed in college, I wanted to give up and give in to the group. I was so tired of fighting. But, I got a second wind. I was raised to give a voice to the voiceless, and speak up for injustice. What would it mean if I didn’t speak up for myself? What I was experiencing wasn’t warranted and wasn’t right. I decided to fight for justice and play the game right back to the people who caused me so much pain. In the end, I won, justice was served. “You may not have always spoken up Stephanie. But know, that you spoke up when you needed to and your voice was heard.” My best friend E told me last year, after I shared my story with him. There are several moments when I fought the good fight, and spoke up in my own way. With the knowledge of my voice, I am working on speaking with the very voice that I was born with and it grows stronger each day.