A Speaking Piece 🕊💬

“I would like to have your attention. There are some things we need to discuss if you all would get settled. I promise it won’t take long!”

Woody—World Renowned Speaker

“Nobody wants to hear all of that.”

Can I guess? Did someone silence you when you finally mustered up the courage to speak? Maybe, they gaslit you into thinking you were wrong about their intentions? Trust me, it happens. But what price did you pay when you chose silence? What did you lose in that moment?

There must be a way to be heard and not diminished by the fear of being misunderstood. The thought of speaking up felt pricey. Does it cost too much? Is wanting to be heard expensive?

I no longer think so. I cannot afford silence. I cannot afford to scoot over and make room for anyone else while I sit in discomfort. My best friend B Hump bought me a book for my birthday. She told me, “Victoria, you have been quiet long enough. It’s time to speak, and this will help.” She was right. “Your Silence Will Not Protect You” by Audre Lorde is liberating. Silence does not keep the bad things out or hold the good things in. Silence is a space—one that you cannot live in permanently. It does not have what you need to be sustainable. Lorde’s paper, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” expresses how dangerous silence can be.

“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. That speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.”—(Lorde, 1977)

We use language in modes. Comfort and discomfort. 0 to 100. So, where’s the middle ground? Where’s the perspective before the discomfort? The appreciation of comfort before it shifts? Silence becomes the option that does not fit into any of these modes. Silence and fear are partners in crime. Those two will kidnap you and hold your language and action hostage. “…the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and always seems fraught with danger.” (Lorde, 1977)

We have to step away from the fear of losing if we speak up. You are allowed to express yourself. Expressions become unhealthy when you sentence yourself to silence. It’s time to free yourself of that expectation that nothing should bother you. Nothing should phase you. Where would we be in this world if all our champions chose silence? So many women sacrificed for me. So many lost their lives for me. The road is traveled because they chose to use language and put it into action. That’s where I am now. My use of language is not reactive. It is restorative—yet constructive. It has transformed me, and I am grateful.

Change is many things. Depending on your perspective, it can range from liberating to debilitating. However, I know that silence is no longer an option. Healthy communication exists. Boundaries exist. Growth and healing exist. They all exist together, and you have to find your peace and speak it.

“I don’t want nobody to do it but you. It ain’t no hard work.”Mama Frankie

That was one of the last voicemails my Granny left me before she transitioned. I love it so much that I listen to it when I need a reminder on why I must keep going. I want you to have it. This isn’t hard work, and I can do it—WE can do it.

Take Care,

ToriB💕🌻

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