Updated: Jun 16, 2020
In light of the recent events, I’ve begun to think a great deal about the notion of voice. Each of us carries a unique range of rhythms, tonalities, pitches, cadences and more… And yet, how many of us actually make use of this singular gift?
Whether when it comes to standing up for ourselves or standing up for others, the truth is, many of us prefer to remain silent. To bite our tongue. Because, let’s be honest: It’s a lot more comfortable. To withhold our words is to ensure a continued pattern. To speak is to bring about the unknown.
I’m no exception to this, particularly when it comes to men. And I know plenty of my girlfriends feel the same: If I tell him what I really think or how I truly feel, he’ll flee/ghost me/like me less/see me as scarred/yadda yadda yadda. But what really happens when we take that leap and say what’s in our hearts? Considering this at length, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is staying silent keeping us safe, or just keeping us trapped?
Allow me to share a brief story with you: During quarantine, a guy friend in Paris that I briefly dated, but with whom we decided we could only be friends, hosted a live DJ set every weekend. It was a fun, cool Saturday ritual that made life feel a little more normal and fun. One weekend, I mentioned I wouldn’t be able to make it since I had an important call, and he kindly offered to postpone it by an hour. (Sweet, right?) So finally, it starts, I log in to his IG Live and, soon after, some girl writes in the comments, “well-equipped 🍆”. Irritated and, admittedly, with a twinge of jealousy, I thought: “Wow, way to be discreet.”
Suddenly, the question popped into my head: Was this just an audience of women crushing on this guy? Clearly peeved, I signed off. But not without feeling somewhat guilty for missing a show he’d postponed for me.
So later that afternoon, I texted him, “Hey… thanks for delaying the set today. I kind of feel like I ought to apologize though, in the event that you postponed just for me. I know this may sound totally immature, but when I saw some girl make that comment about you being well-equipped, I just felt like if this was an audience of your groupies, I didn’t want to be a part of that. And I know we’re just friends, so I have no reason to react this way. But I’m sorry I didn’t want to stick around after that.”
And then… something happened. He read the message. But he didn’t respond right away. Instead, he went back onto IG live to host yet another 2-hour DJ set, even though it was already late into the night where he was. I was the first to sign in. When I did, he greeted me and pointed out he’d even put on his “New York” sweater, as that’s where I was. I laughed. And, let’s be real, I was touched by this kind gesture. He later explained the girl’s comment was an inside joke amongst friends… and added that he didn’t know if it was appropriate to say this, but that he missed me. (Ok fine, that was really cute.)
Now, I could have just kept my twinge of jealousy and anger to myself and gone about my day, casting this guy off. But by openly telling him what I felt, I ended up enjoying one of the sweetest responses I could have hoped for. Did this change the course of my life? No. But by building up our ability to speak our minds through even small moments like these, we become more capable of speaking up when it really matters.
For instance, have you ever felt something so strongly for someone and yearned to tell them… but avoided it because you were afraid of their reaction? I won’t sugarcoat it: it’s true that if he’s not yet ready, it may scare him. Yet whatever his response may be, by bottling up our emotions, we’re shutting down a part of ourselves. Shunning ourselves from being whom we truly are, in our entirety. But the moment we open up and release the thoughts swirling in our head, we allow ourselves to feel liberated. Free. No longer burdened by the weight of these emotions stuck inside, feeling like a shaken-up bottle of champagne with all the bubbles entrapped at the neck. (Clearly speaking from experience here.)
Yeah, it’s true you can’t guarantee how the guy will react. But either you get a positive response or you learn who he truly is and can avoid having to wait months or years to find out. (And girl, let me save you the time and trouble.)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through dating or openly sharing my story with others, it’s that speaking our truth may be one of the scariest things we can ever do… but it’s also the way that we can finally feel free to be whom we truly are and stand up for what we want.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal stories. If you enjoyed this post, share it with friends! You can also sign up for our newsletter to know when our next article comes out. Bisous, Sabrina