Speak Up

You blink your eyes and two months go by without warning.

Someone maybe a month ago told me that they “needed Mishy blog posts,” and I honestly flipped out a little for several reasons:

1) I was flattered. Whatchu mean you need them?! Awwwww 🙈

2) I was reminded how I hadn’t blogged in AGES. It’s been a good minute.

3) I was shocked at how long it’d been since I’d actually sat down to write out a post, or to just sit down and think through everything currently happening in my life – my feelings, my beliefs, my plans, etc.

Blogging is one of the origins of my writing journey. It was the first place I’d decided to allow my thoughts and words to be seen by people other than myself, which was hella scary for me — I always knew I had a voice, had things to say, but was never brave enough to say them. Or to write them, and have other people read them.

Honestly, with this year being almost halfway over (WHAAAAT?!), it’s crazy to think back on how much I’ve had to use my actual voice, not just my writing voice. I’ve had to speak up on so many occasions this year, personally and poetically. And if you know anything about me, that’s difficult for me to do because I’m a people-pleaser.

But what does that have to do with using your voice? you may ask.

Well, it means that I don’t wanna do or SAY anything that’s going to hurt anyone in any way, even when what I have to do or say is healthy for me or whoever is involved. Speaking up, even with good intentions, can offend or hurt others, and there have been multiple times in which I stayed silent to save someone heartache or hurt feelings, even though I knew it was right for me to say something. And sometimes my silence, even though it saved the other person, caused suffering for myself.

So, I’ve had to speak up a lot. Especially for myself. I know that sounds kind of selfish, but honestly, the more I think back on my life, the more I’ve realized how much I’ve kept things bottled up inside. So many emotions and feelings about things that I had opinions on that I just stayed silent about, when I really should have said something.

Now, what I’m not saying is is that we should always just speak whatever is on our minds immediately; it pays to think before we speak. And it also pays to not speak sometimes, but to listen and observe in certain situations; we learn a lot about people, environments, etc. by doing so, and it could save us some unnecessary negative consequences later.

The difference with me is that I would think, and never speak because I was too timid or afraid of what others would think. I was afraid that my communication would come off as too aggressive, or if I disagreed with someone or something, then it would come across like I didn’t care about the person and their opinions. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t communicate my thoughts accurately, thereby creating another way to offend or hurt.

But, as cliche as this is, communication is key, and with everything that I’ve experienced in the past several months, I’m realizing that with speaking up I can’t avoid hurting people’s feelings sometimes; sometimes people’s toes need to be stepped on. Sometimes things need to be said the wrong way for me to be corrected by someone else, or for me to really sort out my thoughts and opinions aloud. And a lot of the time, speaking up brings about a lot of positive outcomes – connections with other people, new relationships, clarity.

And honestly, I think that’s why writing – both blogging and poetry – have been such key parts of my life. Even though I was still sort of timid to have people read my writing, I would rather them read my written thoughts than hear me speak them. But even this year I’m learning to vocalize my writing as well, and that’s been a whole other amazing process. Through specific events and open mics, and people who value other people’s voices and opinions, I have come out of my shell a ton, and said way more than I ever have (shout out to my friends Phenom and Garrell, and the whole Make Noise 423 crew for the major help in that!).

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is this – speak up. Be it through writing, music, or actually talking, speak. up. Your voice matters where you are, and I know sometimes it may not feel like that. But you really never know until you try to use your voice, or express your thoughts and opinions. Like that old, overplayed song by I-don’t-know-who used to say, “Say what you need to say.”

Sometimes what you have to say may be something someone else is also thinking, but they’re also too scared to say it. Your voice could make a major difference, or it could create some conflict. It could spark change, either positive or negative. It could heal you or others. Whatever comes of you using your voice, it is important!! The world needs it! So speak up.

Mishy 🦋

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