I have felt silenced for a very long time.
For a while I felt like some of the people I valued silenced me. Then I felt as though I silenced myself. Then the turmoil of life caused turmoil inside my head that silenced me. Now I feel as though leading powers of government and society are trying to silence me. And do you know what? I will allow it no longer.
My whole life I’ve been a pretty quiet girl. I follow the rules. I color inside the lines. I follow behind those who choose to lead. I only speak up when I feel like my voice will add something that is not already being said.
But I have decided: NO MORE. I have a voice. My very own voice. And it is powerful.
I’ve been working on this post for about a month. It started as an explanation of how the past year has been extraordinarily difficult for me. How I went through the worst year that I can remember in my young life. How I stripped my life down to the barest elements and went into hibernation to seek self-healing and restoration. How, through a LOT of love, support, time, healing, and reflection, I entered 2017 feeling strong, hopeful, and happy once again.
But recent events make this post about so much more than me and my past year. Regardless of who you are, I think that everyone either has had a time in their life or may be in a time right now where they feel voiceless. Maybe you, too, are silencing yourself. Maybe unhealthy relationships in your life cause you to forget how strong and important your voice is. Maybe you, just like me, are feeling crippled by current events. Maybe the fear and shock you feel at parts of your identity being directly targeted makes you feel as though your voice is being very intentionally silenced.
I want you to know that I am here, standing with you. Because I see you. I hear you. I value you. I need your voice.
I’ll be back to posting about food very soon. (In fact, I have a Valentine’s Day recipe coming soon that you’re going to LOVE.) But I can’t start posting again without saying all of this. I can’t talk about food, or even talk at all, without acknowledging the things that are so much bigger than food and so much bigger than this blog.
I haven’t blogged in so long because I had some work to do. I had to get my voice back. And I am here to encourage you, if you are feeling voiceless, whatever the reason may be, please know that your words are so important. Who you are is so important. Whether you feel that your voice was taken from you or you feel that someone is trying to silence you, know that you have all authority to reject that and to speak loudly. Maybe some of these things will help you like they helped me.
- Get rid of the people in your life that make you feel like you don’t have a voice or that your voice isn’t important. Replace them with people who will respect and validate your existence, even though that existence is different than their own.
- On the same line, get people in your life who are different from you! Respect their lives and their struggles. You may find yourself caring about something that does not even directly affect you, but has become important to you, just because it is important to someone you care about. Use your voice to love others and to affect change.
- Allow yourself to exist exactly as you are. Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s life or to anyone else’s expectations of your life. Intentionally think about what you want your life to look like, and then make that your reality.
- Find something that gives you comfort, something that gives you peace, and something that gives you joy. I adopted a sweet kitten (my sweet, cuddly comfort), finally found an exercise style that works for me (giving me both health and peace), and got back in the kitchen (y’all know that’s my joy). Whatever it is that gives you comfort, peace, and joy, those are things that are 100% YOU, and no one can take them away.
My dear friends, if you get nothing else from this post, if you get nothing else from this blog, know this: Regardless of who you are or what “they” are saying about you, you have a strong and powerful voice. I hear you.
You are valued, you are important, you are special, and your voice is needed. It is needed right now.
All my love,