Monday, September 9, 2013

Be Brave and Roar

It's probably a combination of my personality and my upbringing, but speaking up for myself has always been beyond difficult for me. I was shaped to believe that the appearance of perfection is more important than anything less than perfect but genuine. I learned that it's easier to ignore problems until they go away. I learned that being quiet and giving up ground was the best way to keep the peace.

I've had to learn to unlearn.

It's been hard and I don't know if I will ever have an easy time speaking my mind or sticking up for myself. I catch myself trying to figure out what others want me to say, who they want me to be,
rather than just being, saying, or doing what feels best for me.

I've had some amazingly great bosses in my history who have put up with my unprofessional crying and sobbing over the lousiest things because any kind of confrontation (even if what is going isn't even bad or I'm not even in trouble) just overwhelms my coping mechanisms completely.

I think this happened in part because I am a girl. There is this whole other feminism tangent I started writing first, but it really is a tangent, but yeah...there's something about being female that makes it hard to speak up.

As a 31-year-old woman, I am barely finding my voice. I don't want my two daughters to feel silenced or shushed their entire lives (if I had sons,  I would include them too). My husband is such a good partner with me in this, and many praises go to his parents who raised him to be the man he is. It doesn't hurt that he is a counselor.

As I am finding my voice, I am always looking for nuggets of inspiration to help me and to bolster my girls as they grow. Lately, I am very grateful for two awesome anthems in popular radio that support finding your voice, being yourself, and never holding back.

"Roar" by Katy Perry (I'm linking to her VMA performance because I prefer it to her video)
Favorite lyric: I went from zero to my own hero and I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar!
I blast this song whenever I hear it. It's universally empowering. It's not one of those songs dissing on a bad boyfriend. It makes me stand taller, hold my head high, and take on the day with the eye of the tiger.

"Brave" by Sara Bereilles
Favorite lyrics: Show me how big your brave is and Since your history of silence won't do you any good, Did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty

I cannot sing this chorus without choking up because I think of my girls. I think of them feeling shushed and shamed and silenced and it the thought of that hurts me more than it hurt for me to feel it for myself. I know it takes guts to find your voice and speak up. It's nothing short of courageous. And yes...I want to see my girls be brave.

It's okay not to smile all the time.

These two songs are now on the playlist I make especially for my kids. Hopefully the messages will sink in. I am constantly encouraging them to tell me how they feel, even when their emotions are unpleasant or ugly. I encourage them to verbalize their feelings (negative or otherwise) to me and their dad. It's always been a mission for me to give my children a better environment for speaking up and being real than I had. I really hope that, for them, being true to themselves is not an act of bravery. It's just as natural as laughing.

Are there any other awesomely empowering songs you love for the same reason?


Julie Groff said...

Perfectly said. There was nothing good from the whole, "children are to be seen and not heard," mantra that we heard over and over again. Any difference of opinion was squashed as disrespectful. To this day, I still worry that having a differing opinion than someone else will have negative repercussions.

Alice Anne said...

I like Katy Perry's "Firework" for the very same reason. I'm turning 28 this month and I'm just now learning to speak up for myself and be confident in who I am. It's hard. I try way too hard to be a peacemaker and keep everyone happy with me. I get walked all over behaving like that. Thanks for sharing this. :) It makes me feel less alone... and more encouraged to stand up and be me.

Rachel said...

I love "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield...the line "we've been conditioned to not make mistakes-- but I can't live that way" is something I need to hear every day!


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