I’m not a fan of confrontation. Conflict, confrontation, disagreements…the very thought of such gives me a tummy ache.
So I’d keep quiet and often keep my views and opinions to myself in order to avoid landing myself in trouble – on social media and in real life. I’d just stay in my own space and let the talkers do the talking.
Sure, I’d get riled up when someone would say or post something awful. Or I’d want to talk about something that would probably end up in an intense discussion. But I’d always put off talking about those things or responding. The thought of someone talking back, made me anxious.
But after several years of doing this, I realized that my silence wasn’t helping anything. If anything, it made things worse for me. How would I expect anything to change if I wasn’t willing to contribute to it? How would people know if something is wrong if I wasn’t telling them? It’s unfair to expect people to just ‘know’ when something is wrong. It makes life easier if you just say, “Hey, help. I’m not okay.”
I have to tell myself that. Every day. Because I tend to end up having horrible breakdowns as a result of bottling things up and trying to be a hero. I’ve long let go of trying to be a hero. Trying to be ‘strong’ on my own. I can’t do it. I’ve learned to embrace the beautiful people in my life, and actually speak up and let them know when I need help.
I’ve learned to speak up. Use my voice. It’s there for a reason. And that reason is not ‘to keep it hidden’.
I was watching Grey’s Anatomy a few weeks ago and one part of the show has remained on my mind since then. One of the doctors, a lady, had been shut down by a lot of the more..senior doctors. This happened all the time. Until this moment in this episode: As she was tending to a patient, a male doctor stormed into the room and started yelling at her. He overrode her decision and started to berate her. Suddenly, she snapped and let her voice out. She put the doctor in his place, and continued with helping the patient. I replayed that part so many times. It resonated with me.
It reinforced a conversation I’d had with myself earlier. That it was time to speak up. To be unashamed. To be unapologetic. To be open to hearing other people’s views, but not quick to change my own ‘because someone said so’.
I realized that it would mean I’d be opening myself to criticism and debates. But that’s nothing to be afraid of. Actually, this fear thing has to go too. Because it’s hindered me from doing so much. And I don’t want to be someone who looks back on their ‘days of youth’ and sigh and say “If only I was braver…”
So I may trample on a few toes. Upset a few mentalities. Encounter trolls. But that’s okay.
As much as I’ll speak, I’ll also listen. And if a place of agreement cannot be reached, keep it moving.
Life’s too short to remain in a box for the sake of other people’s comfort.
Way too short.