As a little girl I was not allowed to have a voice. This went beyond the old saying of children being “seen and not heard”. It was a pervasive belief in my community and within my parent’s fundamentalist religion that females had nothing of value to say.
Looking back I suspect I was more boisterous and outspoken than most girls or possibly most children for that matter. We were taught to keep our arms folded, our legs crossed, our mouths shut and our minds closed. I had an issue with these rules according to my parents and I was constantly reprimanded for being too loud and opinionated. I was even told once by my mother that at a point in history I would have been burned as a witch for having my opinions. Talk about scaring me into keeping my mouth shut. Even my own mother fell for the belief that men and their opinions mattered more than women’s.
Yet somehow my spirited, and what my parents and everyone around me called my rebellious and stubborn nature, could not be completely squelched, at least not as easily as my parents and my leaders would have preferred. And I refused to play the role of the subservient and meek female I was expected to be. It isn’t that that I did not want to be what I was expected to be, I really did want to be good girl, it just wasn’t in my nature to sit still and keep my thoughts to myself.
That was until one day when I took my desire to be seen and heard to the stage. It was during a fundraising auction for a community/church event (they were one and the same) where teenage boys stood in front of a crowded room and offered up their time and services to the audience. I proudly took the stage among the boys in full confidence that what I had to offer was just as valuable as anything they could offer. Unfortunately for me and my already crumbling self-esteem, my actions were considered blasphemous and members of the audience booed me off the stage.
The humiliation of that experience and not being recognized for having any value affected me unconsciously for much of my life. It took me another thirty years to take the stage again. And it took me just as long to write my story and tell it in confidence. That was, until my calling to inspire others finally overtook my fear of being ridiculed.
Now I proudly share my story with others through public appearances and in my writing. My story finally has a voice. Giving a voice to my story has been truly transformational in so many ways. And the best part is that in sharing my story and my truth, I have seen it change the lives of others and I can finally see the value in my story, and in me.