Speak Up for Yourself

original.gif“ 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.