September 13, 2021

FINDING AND USING MY VOICE.

For the longest time, easygoing was one of the first words that would come up when I described myself. It would be the word I'd pick while taking personality quizzes and as a middle child, it's something that just came naturally growing up. 

Easygoing and quiet. Yep, that was me. I was so easygoing and quiet growing up that when my little sister would start off new school years, teachers would exclaim how much they enjoyed having our older sister (the oldest of the three of us) in their class. Rarely, would a teacher remember me. 

And for a long time, I wore that badge with honor. I was proud to be an easygoing person who would go with the flow and agree with the majority. I avoided confrontation at all costs and--no joke--even pretended to like multiple meals when out with friends when I really didn't. 

I can honestly and distinctly remember a time when I ordered a dish at a restaurant and it didn't come out like I had expected and almost started crying after I asked the server about it. And yes, I was a full adult when this happened. 

But 2021 has been a growing year and I've found myself empowered and confident to speak up, own my truth, and disagree with others. It would be an exaggeration to say that I enjoy confrontation and arguments, but I'm coming more into my skin and am okay with disagreeing with the majority and stating my opinion. 

I've been trying to wrack my brain to figure out how/when this switch came to be, but I think it was a multitude of things, namely community. The longer I teach, the more respected I feel at work which has provided me with opportunities to speak up even if I'm scared. I'm grateful to work in a setting where my opinion and voice is both valued and listened to. I'm at a point in life where I feel like my parents respect my voice and opinion as well. And I have friends who accept me for who I am and I don't have to worry about being stabbed in the back when I leave the room. 

Secondly, I think that 2020-2021 helped me love myself in a whole new light. I've found grace for my past self, the one who was scared of being in the limelight and afraid to disagree with others. That grace has turned into a desire to love myself enough to change from my past to create a better future. I am so much more passionate about speaking up for the underdogs that I am finding myself speaking up and having tough conversations because my voice matters. 

And lastly, I feel like resources like the Enneagram helped a TON, too. If you couldn't tell, I'm a classic Nine and I've lived under this lie that my presence and my voice don't matter for much of my life. I've come to believe that it's much more important to get along with others (or risk rejection) than to say what's on my mind, even if it's an unpopular opinion.

Do you remember a moment when you found your voice? How did it change/shape who you are today?

© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall