My voice has been a soft reflection of societal expectations. I would never let it rock the boat or have a tone of disagreement because that wasn’t my place. Society tuned it to broadcast the message that was desired, wavering only between joyful and inspirational.
As women, there is a frightening expectation laid upon us from the moment we can formulate a coherent sentence: Know your place. I’ve always felt that my voice was appreciated more as an echo rather than a singular influence. Women, in many eyes, were created to repeat and agree, never to stand alone. There is a silent decree that asks girls to fall in line, to be quiet and small, to be seen and not heard. It’s shockingly easy to follow this because it’s beat into our heads and hearts from childhood, so I don’t fault or judge any woman who adheres to this way of life. In fact, this way of living makes holding onto relationships much easier, be it with family, friends or significant others. There is always a price paid when women step into their own voices.
The moments when I broke message and spoke from my heart were when my voice became a burden. That was uncharted territory for me. The adoration I was accustomed to turned quickly into people questioning my intentions and even pulling away. It was heartbreaking to hear that my message was accepted only when it was a vapid regurgitation of topics that didn’t challenge any social norm. My heart requires that I speak out against injustice of all kinds and for being brave with our lives, so I never understood why there was such a push back on topics I thought were what our society needed.
For the life of me, I can’t grasp the fear of women standing up and speaking out. Our voices are laced with leadership, compassion and inclusion. I don’t see the destruction of the world stemming from any of those qualities. In fact, I see the these attributes mending broken societies and hearts. The fierce resistance to and despicable treatment of female leaders is egregiously unfair. We can’t be too emotional, but we must be vulnerable and authentic. We need to be strong, but we have to watch our delivery as not to be bossy. Our wardrobe is questioned before there is ever a nod to our intelligence. And, my goodness, how do our the men in our lives feel about having us out doing this work? Are they okay with it? It’s a tightrope walk that’s nearly impossible to navigate, so many women give up the fight and just fall in line.
To perpetuate that a woman’s voice and ability will forever be inferior to that of a man takes away from what our world could be. We have to be supportive when young girls and women stand up to lead. We have to encourage young women to speak up and say what’s in their hearts. We have to honor the bravery of girls who step up to shatter expectations. Never once will any of this be detrimental to men. An opportunity for females will never mean a closed door for males. The success of our world is determined by the possibilities available for all its people.
It saddens me that girls are forced to choose between staying true to themselves and finding their voice or being a puppet of society. It saddens me that women are encouaged, even by those they love, to not push boundaries or the status quo, sometimes even losing those beloved relationships. Our voices are not a burden. Our voices are not asking for too much. Our voices are worthy of being heard. Our voices can, have, and will make a difference.
It’s mine, and I refuse to stifle it anymore just to make others comfortable. My voice will be used to as a clarion call to change the world.