I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. –Audre Lorde
Our most powerful tool in society is our voice. Through our words, intonation, and inflection we can express a myriad of emotions, ideas, and beliefs. We can profess love or spew hatred. We can offer support or sully ones reputation. We can help or harm. We can be the revolution or be the cause of resistance. But within our voice, freedom lies.
I have never been afraid of my voice. I often wished it sounded better on answering machines, as I sound to myself like Wolfman Jack after a few shots of bourbon and pack of Newports. Mine is not a sweet and soft voice or that of a proud feminine orator… but it is mine and it aims to speak my existence. I have come to learn that with it I should tell my story, if for no other reason than to help other people realize the power of their own verbalized experiences.
Once, in the midst of some workplace bullshit… pause, curse words are valid and valuable words and do not portray ignorance or lack of vocabulary depth, using them well is an art form and a skill… I was asked by a co-worker what she could do to help. My answer… speak! I don’t need anyone to tell my story for me, and I’m not afraid to bring the pain, but an anthology of unilateral stories is what brings down every threat. It’s historical. Watergate, the fall of Nazi Germany, and the end of the Roman Empire were all predicated by human voice, and it’s rise against the status quo. #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are examples of using ones voice to combat injustices.
Yet, said Rumi…”In silence there is eloquence!” But I would argue that he didn’t mean silence in matters of humanity, but rather as juxtaposed to compulsive verbalizing for the sake of hearing oneself. Silence is never preferred in the face of human suffering. The voice is a revolutionary machete. We must use it to tear through the fields of thick discrimination and tall insecurity that those who fear your truth will grow to trap you and insulate themselves. Then other times, you simply need to end what they started…
Use your voice to speak freedom, compassion, and truth!