Speak truth, even if your voice shakes.
I actually wear two rings that say “Speak” and “Truth”.
Because sometimes I need the reminder. And sometimes it’s hard.
But as I get older, the easier it gets and recently I’ve found my voice. It’s not the voice I used to have writing stories with intricate details and interwoven plots. I’m not writing about characters through psychological motivations. It’s been a long time since I’ve engaged in the kind of voice that often moved me to tears.
Partly due to my education, as I’m in the homestretch of earning my masters in Applied Behavior Analysis. (I didn’t even have a my bachelors the last time I wrote on this site. Go me!). So much of my time has been dedicated to writing scholarly papers.
But in the current times, I’ve found a different need for my voice. I’ve spent almost every night for the past week writing letters to my representatives expressing my concerns on a variety of issues. There are so many that most nights I can’t keep up.
After the election, I wanted to bury my head in the sand for the next four years. The hatred and anger and irrational fears that have no factual basis were just…too…much.
Until the Saturday I returned home from work to my typically quite street packed with cars. Cops in neon yellow vests swarmed. I was afraid. Genuinely afraid because my son was home and, being a parent, the worst thought came to mind. Until I saw the crowd of people with signs and heard the loudspeakers.
And I smiled.
I wasn’t convinced to join the protesters. Not right away. Mind you, my head was still buried in the safety of its sand hole.
But I did. We walked out of the park and down the street, while cars honked and waved and shouted approval from their windows. In that moment, I realized that I wasn’t alone.
In that moment, I realized that I have to speak my truth.
I took a class my sophomore year in high school called IRITH. Independent Reading in the Humanities. I was the only sophomore ever to take the senior only class, which made me feel pretty special. The students picked one topic to study and present over the course of the semester. My chosen topic was Germany in World War II, due to a morbid obsession I’d had of the Holocaust since visiting Dachau at the age of 12.
I remember talking during one presentation about Hitler’s rise to power. I explained it as two factions that allowed it to happen. One faction bought into the fear that Hitler told them they should feel. The other faction never spoke up.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~Edmund Burke.
I used this quote in many of my high school speeches during my forensics career. I still believe it’s true.
Imagine the disappointment I felt in myself when I realized that I was that good man. Instead of speaking up, I chose the sand hole where I buried my head.
I’m not comparing the current political climate to Hitler, although I see some striking similarities. But that isn’t for this blog or this post. I am saying that I don’t want to belong to the faction that let it happen because I didn’t speak my truth. In forty years, when my grandchildren are learning about this period of time, I don’t want to be ashamed of my answer if they asked, “What did you do?” or “Didn’t you see what was happening?”.
So…I’m speaking my truth. Even if my voice shakes.
(By the way, I’ve missed you.)