June 21, 2014

Stop F***ing Censoring me: A Loudmouth’s Fork in the Road. ~ Cora Ison

Woman in bondage

My whole life I have been called “too much” for some people.

A little too brazen, a little too bold, a little too in their face, a little too outlandish, a little too outspoken, not quite ladyish. I have never been one who has been able to hide her emotion, it is transparent. Transparency to me is the opposite of secretive. I don’t want to have to dig for information from you.

I figure I should do others the same solid. I will tell you/show you how I feel, immediately, so you don’t have to question it. Tempering myself has never been my strong suit. Lowering my voice, or my expectations, is generally not how I have walked through this world. When I am hurt, or someone I love is hurt, I will make the loud sound of a wild animal, and I protect people with the fervency of a feral, wildcat who protects her young.

Being the woman I am, raised by the women I was raised around, I learned early on that shutting my mouth to make other people happy, was not in the cards for me. Whether it was by watching the women around me shut their mouths, in order to not ruffle feathers, or through watching some of them speak their minds, stand up for themselves, and get shit done… I grew to love the idea of being an outspoken female.

I have, at times in my life been the quintessential, raw, powerful force of feminism for everyone around me.

Whether you liked it or not, I was bringing those issues to your doorstep. I have fought for the underdog, and have stood up for the less fortunate. Then there have been moments where I have asked myself, “why am I always the one standing up, why am I always the one speaking out”? I have also believed thoroughly, at the end of the day, I have a right to say what I want to say, when I want to say it, damn it. My perception has been that if I didn’t have thoughts or opinions and voice them regularly, I would be seen as spineless. Gutless. A wimp. I’d rather die than have somebody think I wasn’t strong.

Recently, I have started reconsidering this tendency of mine to want to blast my opinions from a megaphone.

Spending time alone, questioning the way you do things, can lead you down some very meandering paths. I have considered whether me wanting to shut myself up is a direct result of the society we live in, and whether it’s a result of the oppression of everything I’ve been fighting against, and speaking out about, my whole life. Is this me giving in? Is this me giving up? Isn’t this the very thing that I have rallied against? Am I doing it because I am 32 years old, single and childless, and still have lingering thoughts in my head that no man wants a loudmouth feminist for a wife? But then again, who wants a man who is afraid of that type of woman?

Those breezy, light, sweet-natured girls have always seemed like aliens to me. I don’t understand them. If you’re one of them, kudos. I have longed to be more docile. I just can’t seem to find the roots in me to grow that type of quiet inhabitance in this world.

Many a day I can be found reciting the phrase “that’s not the point!” to anyone who is willing to listen about whatever point it is I’m trying to prove. My friends jokingly (lovingly) refer to me as the community moral authority. Regularly I feel that I am being taped, and am on the show “What would you do?” because so many of the situations I have run across in my lifetime where I have seen good people standing by doing nothing, is astronomical. “Our world needs more heroes” is the phrase that goes through my mind when I question whether or not I have gone too far with something.

Perhaps you find yourself as I do, to be full of opinions, but teeter-tottering on whether or not you should keep voicing them as loudly or as often as you do. Perhaps it is our age creeping up on us. Isn’t activism something you pursue in your 20’s, and by your 30’s are too preoccupied by your life to care about anymore? Maybe we care too much to ever give up caring.

They say an examined life is one of many questions, and not as many answers. So shouldn’t some of our loudmouth, brazen girl verbiage be more of asking for information, and less giving out what we think are all the solutions?

Censorship by definition is when things are removed because they are considered to be offensive or harmful. If you are a loudmouth like me, these are the questions I pose to us…

Have we offended or harmed anyone with the things we have said? (Tough one, I know, I hear your inner lioness growling at me.)

Are we not enough, on our own, without a cause to stand behind?

Is there a reason we find things to fight for, and to speak out against? And is that reason because these things make us bigger than who we are when we are with ourselves?

If being in a state of action, is the only way we feel truly alive, when will we ever find peace and aliveness in rest? And how long until our legs give out because the marathon sprint has left us listless? This powerful feeling that sweeps over us, when we are speaking out for the many causes of the world, that feeling is addictive. It is born in the moment when we come to life through a cause. But if we only experience this type of feeling through those experiences, are we abandoning ourselves if we only find ourselves through these things? Community comes to life when fellow, whole souls bind together for the greater good. The important thing to remember in this equation is the whole part. Are we whole, without these causes? If not, I have a feeling we should be asking ourselves more questions.

Fellow loudmouths—I have arrived at a fork in the road. Perhaps we meet here together. Perhaps you have already been here and it is your scent of wisdom that remains in this place, drawing me to it. If you are yet to come after me, and arrive here later… I leave a note for you. I do hope you pin it to the collar of your favorite shirt that you wear when you rally the hardest.

The note says this…

“Should we shut-up? Hell no.”

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~Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Muyskens / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Flickr

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