When I was a little girl I always loved Ariel the mermaid. Out of all the Disney movies, Ariel was my favorite because I grew up spending so much time in the water…swimming in lakes, pools and oceans…and always feeling an affinity with the sea. Recently I was recognizing how the story of Ariel that was portrayed in the Disney movie is not one of the best depictions for young girls to look up to. Ariel so badly wants to be human and have a life on land with legs, that she is willing to give up her voice for that. When she gives up her voice, she also gives up her power.
The last few years this is something I have been working on in myself. Growing up I always had a strong voice and was able to speak my truth and express myself. There was no hesitation and fear. I remember being 15 and reading about the chakras in the body, and knowing that my throat chakra was really healthy and open. Then somewhere in my early 20s my throat charka started to close. I’m not entirely sure whether it was from subtle forms of cultural conditioning “of being a nice girl” or from subconscious memories of past lives where it was dangerous to speak the truth and being burned for it was an outcome.
I remember the exact moment when I recognized what happened. I was in India, and one night I woke up from a very unique dream. In my dream, someone said to me strongly: “You cut off your tongue”. Then I woke up. There was nobody in my dream, just a strong powerful voice telling me this truth, so matter of factly. With this potent clarity, I realized that I had been swallowing my truth instead of fully speaking my truth…all for acceptance, keeping peace, and external approval. I had given up my power through silencing my expression. I had really cut my own tongue off metaphorically.
The last 3 years since my time in India, has been a journey of reclaiming my voice. Of fully speaking my truth no matter what…even if the truth may cause some ripples. A part of my essence is being a harmonizer. Yet at the same time, I’ve realized that swallowing what I know to be true in order to gain external acceptance, love, and approval is completely self mutilation and betrayal. When I don’t fully express my truth, I am dishonoring myself. I feel this is something that many of us perhaps experience at some point in our lives.
These words by Audre Lorde sum up perfectly what I’ve experienced with speaking up and expressing truth the last 2 months in Hawaii:
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language."
I began to ask each time: "What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?" Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, "disappeared" or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it's personal. And the world won't end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said,
"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” -Audre Lorde
**(white hot truth)**
Today I love myself even more because I’ve burned through the veils and walls that kept me quiet, that were self imposed. I yearn to speak the truth fully, even when my body shakes with fear…and my voice trembles…and even when I know it may not make everyone comfortable. I am willing to be disliked for being who I am fully, then to be loved for being a diminished expression of the totality of who I truly am.
It's beautiful to have a voice. And mermaids love to sing their soul voice!