Hey everyone, it’s your friendly neighborhood hypeman AD given another opportunity to write to you, this time about our VOICES! Let me hear you SCREEEEEAM!… or just type in all caps if you’re equally excited.
Before I start, I want to thank Let’s Be Frank for giving me, and this generation, a way to use our voices to express truth, love, life and ourselves in general.
Have you ever heard yourself on a recording, whether that is a camera, phone, or your “well viewed” snapchat story and thought while cringing, “Dang, that’s how I sound?” or how about having a conversation with someone who is on their phone and everything you are saying goes in one ear and out the other like a train in a tunnel?
If any of the two apply to you, then I’m glad you are reading this! I know those two scenarios aren’t exactly synonymous but if you think about it, those situations have played a deeper part in our lives than we’ve realized. Take an example from the recording scenario, you say something, you hear it back, and think “I don’t like this, others won’t like it, I just sound annoying so let’s never do that again.” In the same way, that’s how voicing our opinions & concerns seems like. Sometimes, we believe something passionately and we know others believe it too but seeing those who vocalize it and see how they are treated for vocalizing it can bring us to the thought of “that doesn’t look too good so i’d rather not.” I’m mostly speaking from personal experience here. You have the same beliefs, agree with the person, shoot maybe you spoke up a few times, but somehow you ALWAYS seem to get harshly criticized and shut down for simply speaking up. Or maybe you can relate more to the conversation scenario. You are talking to someone and you are sharing some really deep inner thoughts & feelings to them and all you hear is clicking and boom… they’re tweeting, FB’ing, or playing Pokemon Go (shout out to the homies out there trying to “be the very best. Like no one ever was”). By the time you called their name for the 3rd time, you’ve already given up telling the whole schpeel twice so just leave it alone and never speak about it again. In that same sense, you share something with those that are around you but everyone you tell writes you off as crazy, not important, too controversial, etc. You fear being ignored or seeming less important because of what you say, again personal experience.
Can I tell you what my best friend told me? #YourVoiceMatters2016. Honestly, I suffer a lot with over thinking about what I have to say because I didn’t want to fight with anyone and get myself worked up or get shut down because I was “too sensitive” about what I had to say. I feared looking dumb or not being able to convince someone that I wasn’t just speaking out of my mouth but truly from heart. It wasn’t until someone spoke some negative things about a topic that I am very passionate about that turned me to speak up more. If they have the gall to say some really harsh, incorrect, and negative things and people are actually believing it then I HAVE to speak up, no matter who listens. I know someone will hear it, i KNOW someone is feeling the same way, I KNOW my voice matters to someone and in turn I only hope they will speak up.
Listen fam, I know it’s tough out here with the aggressive facebook statuses and the harshness of others words but SOMEONE needs you to say something. Someone needs to hear something they have been trying to say for a while but can’t. In this generation, some of us, myself included, have chosen to take the silent route because it’s the path of least resistance but I say no more to that. This is the time to speak up & speak out. Be passionate about what you have to say, construct your sentences to speak against these issues that are surrounding us (injustice, racism, shootings etc.) Don’t let anyone “tone police” you. (Tone policing focuses on the emotion behind a message rather than the message itself. Read about it here on everdayfeminism, one of my favorite sites about self-awareness, http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/12/tone-policing-and-privilege/). Start going out and having conversations with those you love around you. Conversations is meant for understanding, to speak about each other’s views, life, and burdens. You CAN speak. And if you read this and thought “wow, maybe i do shut people down or ignore others” then let this be a moment of change for you. Let your ability to listen be a guiding point for conversation because VOICES MATTER. We are meant to connect with one another, we’re meant to engage with each others to build up, encourage, restore, and love one another.
I hope y’all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Together, lets move forward in being expressive of who we are, who we are meant to be, and who we are BECOMING. Be easy.