If I have realized one thing about myself this summer, it is that I often shrink. Not always physically but often mentally and emotionally. I take the back seat when I really crave the driver's. I have always considered myself fairly confident, so I came to this conclusion with a bit of surprise and regret. My recent reflections come from transitioning to a new sphere, the working world, and I see that my past confidence was only in academia in my role as student. Now, in many new situations, such as teaching or a different type of social environment, I shrink back hoping to be as small as possible. If I do in fact share my opinion(s) at all, it is with meek hesitation. Perhaps this is another aspect of a quiet observant personality or my Southern upbringing. But what if it is bigger than that?
Ladies do you hear me? Is it just me or do you automatically remain quiet around positions of perceived authority, often male, or sugar coat your helpful critique so much so that you would be better just handing out actual cupcakes? Do you stay quiet unless asked, a dutiful follower of the societal structure?
I may be late to the game but I am currently reading milk and honey by rupi kaur (yes it should be lower case), a small book of poetry full of hurt, honesty and triumph but most importantly strength. rupi gives us her beautiful words, pouring out so that we may be filled. Sometimes, as the reader, I am overcome with anger at how the world works, and then turn to a sweet restful place, a happy happening. Each page is my new favorite but this poem struck out to me:
you tell me to quiet down
This little piece, full of intensity, a call out, was in the section titled "the hurting" but at first, all I could see was triumph, because as a writer who was so open to these hurts, rupi was not put out. These hurts, the societal repression of strong women, is not just a reflection on hardships but also a call out to all women to not stand to be silenced, put out, light or fluffy. It is a calling to walk with strength, dignity and confidence. Speak out when something makes you angry. Point out inequality. Do not settle. I, We, You should feel important enough, confident enough, pretty enough to let your voice fill a room.