Women's voices must be heard not silenced

Biting your Tongue creates pain, swallowing your words can lead to choking and repressing your emotions can lead to serious illness.

I have this habit that I cannot ever recall living without. It is literally biting the inside of my mouth and tongue. This occurs especially when I’m focusing on making courageous decisions as well as when I am in a hypervigilant emotional state. I do this unconsciously, that is, my body and brain partner up and go on autopilot to literally eat me up alive. As women we all have different coping mechanisms for dealing is stress, anxiety, fear and the myriad of other emotions that take us to our primal fight, flight or freeze states. These are primal survival states that have enabled humankind to exist for millions of years.

Jim often catches me cannibalizing the inside of my mouth, grinding me teeth, perpetrating my incredible migraines, like a tormenting self-inflicted nightmare. When I think about this behavior, that seemed comfortable to me for so many years, I see a reaction to extreme stress and anger. On the other side of the coin, when I am in a safe comfortable environment with open minded people I can speak my mind with freedom and confidence. I don’t bite my mouth, in fact my mouth feels like it could sing words quite comfortably for hours on end. Recently I received the beautiful compliment of ‘being able to speak underwater’. Thankyou Marsha. When I am passionate about a topic I can literally speak for hours on end with confidence and conviction because the flow it naturally moving in the right direction.

Being unable to tell your true story is a living death. The right to speak is a form of wealth that is being redistributed. No wonder powerful men are furious, at least we have the empathy to understand their fury from centuries of practicing silence.

Speaking our truth, giving freedom to our inner voice allows us to quite efficiently do a stock take on our lives. We analyze who our real people are and what we may have been sacrificing in order to fit into the tribe, family, workplace or community group. You see the human need for connection and community is so strong biologically that it undermines and silences our celebration of individuality and freedom of expression. Our need for connection is so imperatively intertwined in our emotional and mental wellness. Being aware that we hold the ability to choose ‘our people’ can indeed be lifesaving if your existing people are toxic and causing you to suffer through silence.

There have been quite a lot of recent studies correlating an influx of thyroid problems in women with repression of emotions such as anger, frustration and grief. I have experienced not being able to speak and being silenced leaving me rendered voiceless. I have felt that I am literally swallowing and in fact choking on my words that often get caught in my throat and trapped in my system. Finding healthy ways of expressing my feelings has given me such immense freedom and space that my words now flow straight from my heart and our of my mouth, irrespective of my audience or their reaction. There is no roadblock or purgatory that houses my voice anymore. I was never a fan of mathematics thanks to my clash with Miss Gordon in Year 3, but I do know from my work and family that a problem shared is a problem halved. Read that again. As many times as you need to be comfortable with the fact that keeping emotional pain anchored inside you, can only lead to a huge burden which can ultimately affect your body and health. Silence is what has allowed perpetrators to reign without consequence to charge through the centuries unchecked. Honest speech particularly that of women has been quelled, quashed and dismissed, no wonder we now, even with many historical inequalities rectified, feel silenced by default.

Have you ever been unheard?

The seascape is vast, and the surface of the ocean is unmappable, secret unheard truths lay buried amongst the darkness of our oceans. It it time now to learn to reclaim our voices and freedom of speech as women who have many stories to tell and should be able to do so with freedom, courage and conviction.

Rebecca Solnit so elegantly put it:

“Sometimes just being able to speak, to be heard, to be believed, are crucial parts of membership in a family, a community, a society. Sometimes our voices break those things apart; sometimes those things are prisons.”

I agree wholeheartedly, sometimes the unity that hierarchical workplaces, families and communities we dwelled in become a dark poison that unequivocally strips women of their right to voice their concerns and emotions. How powerful our voices must have been once upon a time for their potency to be so fervently feared now. When I have been dismissed, criticized, humiliated and belittled for my voice, I stop and think how powerful can it be and what power if heard can it generate?

Be brave and speak an octave louder, a little more intensely, spread your innate wisdom and truths. By redefining whose voice is valued, we redefine our society and its values lets begin my reclaiming of our voice. My teeth were created to gnaw at the food that nourishes my body, not to destroy my words and pulverize my freedom. Resurrecting the free-flowing freedom for all women is my purpose, being the change that I dream of for all, one rising word at a time.

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