Learning to Trust My Voice

There was a moment, last year, when I rose my hand in class and suddenly experienced an immense wave of fear. I was scared that I would open my mouth to speak and nothing would come out. In the end, words did come out, I was fine, but for many minutes afterwards I felt like I was on fire, and I couldn't shake the fear that had preceded my answer. 

I wish that had been a singular moment. Unfortunately, that feeling persisted throughout the past two semesters, and these past few months were exceptionally hard. Despite the amount of work I put into a school, I couldn't help but feel like I wasn't smart enough. I was constantly undermining myself. Trying to write anything was horrible--I would stare at the blank page, knowing that I had something to say but not trusting my ideas and opinions. I felt trapped. 

Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
— Audre Lorde

And so after months of debilitating fear and anxiety, I've decided to do something about it. I've got a lot of intentions for 2018 but my top priority is making sure I'm heard. It's not about being a new me, but a louder, more confident me. 

I've realized that the fear of failure that holds me back from doing things--writing, making films, asking people out--doesn't disappear when I don't follow through. I don't feel better when I give up. I just feel worse. So the only choice I have is to follow through. This blog is one of the ways that I'm following through. I've been playing with some iteration of it for two years (maybe more) and now I'm just doing it. Knowing that there will be days when I will be scared out of my mind and want nothing to do with it. Knowing that there may be moments where it goes untouched and I'll be ready to quit. Knowing that I'm scared to be doing it right now. But I'm working on trusting myself and trusting that I'm following the right map. 

I'm following the words of Audre Lorde and refusing to be silent. Refusing to let fear dictate my life. I'm learning to trust my voice. I'm learning to trust that the things I have to say have value and validity. It's going to take work. But I'm ready. Are you?