We all know the feeling. We want to speak our truth—loudly, clearly and confidently, whether to our friends, family, lovers or community.
So we run away from that little voice in our head that wants us to speak our truth. We bury ourselves in extracurricular activities or work, and we replace our inability to speak with frivolous pastimes that we don’t actually enjoy doing.
For countless years, out of a deep-seated fear of speaking my own truth, I played the good girl. I made sure not to ruffle any feathers. When faced with moments when I desperately wanted to speak out against injustice, oppression or exploitation, I instead quieted my voice.
Eventually, I found small ways to express myself, first in nonverbal ways, with writing and photography being my outlets. Slowly, I began to find my voice.
After years of trying to fit into what I thought a well-behaved woman should act like, something hit me. In those pivotal moments when I was faced with situations that didn’t sit right, an intuition deep in my heart tugged at my subconscious and it wasn’t going away.
I could no longer silence myself.
I began to speak up for what I believed in. I began to advocate for those who were unable to do so. I’d seen so many people suffer through some sort of trauma or abuse in their lifetime and as a result they were left voiceless.
What happened once I began to speak my truth?
Friends and lovers walked out of my life. Some tried to silence me. Others didn’t take me seriously; they had never seen this side of me before.
The world didn’t end.
An amazing set of circumstances fell into place the more I spoke, photographed or wrote my truth. Dreamers, believers and doers showed up in my life and offered their support. They, too, were not afraid to speak their truth and by showing me their relentless fearlessness, I was automatically given permission to also be courageous.
And what happened to the people who walked out of my life? In all honesty, they were never missed. I was left feeling more beautiful, bold and confident than I ever had before.
“Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier.
And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had.
And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you.
And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.’
And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
~ Audre Lorde
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Editor: Michelle Margaret