Is it easy for you to speak up and express your truths, your desires , your disappointments, your frustrations , your anger to yourself or to another? In my experience, I have observed that many women fear speaking up. They have justified doing so a 1000 different ways. Mostly to protect themselves. Actually, I would go as far to say that many women do not know and/or recognize their own inner voice thus making it difficult to express it. Much of this may come from the various stories that lie deep within their subconscious mind that it’s not ok to say something. These stories may come from our upbringing as well as the culture we live in.
Growing up I received many messages along the way, some verbal but many were non verbal, that it was not ok for me as a woman to express my thoughts, ideas , opinions and /or disagreements. Shut up and put up is the message I internalize and which operated within me up until these last few years when I dared to go within and take a look at the stories that were limiting me from embracing my authentic self in some way shape or form.
Today, I invite you to start expressing your truth to the best of your ability. Will you mess it up at times? Absolutely! However, here is what I know. It feels incredibly good and liberating to just get it out. You may feel at times that you got it wrong. I would rather speak it out loud and fumble my way through it as best as I know how rather than swallow my words and create dis -ease and /or discomfort within my body. Now, in my early fifties I say enough is enough. If not now, then when. I so wish I had not waited so long for it did not serve me and did cause me great discomfort within for many years.
Here in Canada over the course of the last several weeks, the Ghomeshi case as well as the MPP sexual harassment cases are bringing to the forefront the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace and in the dating scene. Consent being at the core of it all.
Though it is late in coming, I am thrilled that we are now as a nation beginning a much needed conversation. Where it will go, I don’t know. I am happy that it’s on the radar so that the healing can begin.
Here is what I do know. As a woman who experienced sexual harassment in the workplace on numerous occasion, I have some deep knowing and understanding of what the women are feeling and experiencing. I understand why they choose to remain silent and suffer in silence. We have this idea, perception, knowing that it’s not safe to fully express ourselves for we fear that the men who are often at the receiving end of the complaint will say, what did you do or say to bring it on which simply encourages one to stay within the deep black hole of shame. I too for many years ago chose to remain silent because I did not feel not safe to share what had happened.I was infused with embarrassment and riddled with shame. I now choose to speak up.
We all have a responsibility to speak up for it’s the only way things can begin to change. Its time to shift this patriarchal society on its head and send a strong message to men that it’s no longer ok nor acceptable to treat women so disrespectfully whether that is cat calling, sexual innuendoes, inappropriate jokes, sexual advances etc. This message stands true for women as well. I have seen women sexually degrade men for the mere pleasure of it. Not ok.
I know that it’s not all men who conduct themselves in this way. Just some of them thus I am choosing not to paint men with a universal brush. I though do strongly believe that we must all stand together to make the changes: men and women. For my sisters, we need to stand up for ourselves and for each other. Speak up. Silence only perpetuates the issue and gives an implied permission for them to continue to do so. When you witness something, say something. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Your sister can use your support. This same universal truth applies to men as well. If you witness something, say something. Take a stand. For those of us who are parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children what is means to respect another human being. Children learn from us. Model for them the right way.
This week I dare you to strum up heap loads of courage and speak up. Together we can make a difference. It all starts with us, in our little corner of the world where we live.