In a world of social media with a proliferation of voices, does my voice matter? This is a question I ask myself a LOT. So much so that I’m certain it must tire my partner that I’m constantly pulling her into the discussions about it. One reason I’m doubtful of the importance of my voice is because I never want to cause any harm by my words or messaging intentionally or inadvertently. People present many things on Instagram as undeniable facts. Captions and text blocks would have you believe personal experiences universally apply. These things while often benign aren’t always so. My experience with the holistic psychologist brand last summer was a splendid example of how much harm some accounts can cause. Her graphics felt like they resonated. Sure, I knew how to take what resonated and leave the rest. For some people, this wasn’t the case. There are stories of people who got off their medication based on her posts and the ideologies she taught, and this has turned out not to be the right decision for them. Not only that, it has caused them harm.
This leaves me cautious about the need for me to add my voice to the mix. I often think that perhaps what people need isn’t another voice to hear from, but to see that their inner voice is all they ever need. I’m not prescriptive and I don’t have the answers to your problems. Shit, I don’t have the answers to MY problems.
So, those are the things I don’t know and things I’m not sure of. Let’s get to the things that I know. I know that while it sounds good, and it’s probably true that our inner voice is all we ever need, this inner voice isn’t always accessible to us on our own. It is often through the words and the writings of other people that we’re able to gain a deeper understanding into who we are. It is in their bravery to speak up and share about their life experiences and the lessons they’ve learned in life that we all benefit. When I think of my favorite writer, Maya Angelou, I can’t explain how her writings and life stories continue to be an immense inspiration to my life. Her life wasn’t perfect, and she never sought to make it seem like it was. She also wasn’t prescriptive, she just spoke from her life experience and what proved to be true for her. Dr. Angelou had a deep longing to share insight from a place of not perfection but from a place of a desire to uplift Black folks.
This is a longing I know too well. I wake up each day with a deep yearning to speak and write about my life experiences. Not from a place of knowing it all or even knowing anything at all, but from a place of maybe if I share, someone somewhere will not feel alone in THEIR experiences. Writing about my love and my struggles isn’t all fun and games. My story is rife with a lot of pain and heartache, but in the pain is where I’ve found the lessons. In it is where I’ve formed my most cherished friendships and connections. It’s in that authenticity that I’m able to connect with others in my life. I want to continue writing and sharing. I want to have a record of a life well lived, a life well experienced, a life full of joys and sadnesses that are unique to me but universal in its lessons.
Maybe that’s my gift, huh? This ability to share. To connect our human experiences. To find the shared connections and the collective lessons. I doubt this gift of mine a lot and when I see other people who appear confident in their gifts, I’m sometimes inspired but more often scared that if im not that way, then maybe I have nothing to offer after all. Here’s the thing, I could keep holding back from giving it all my all while waiting to get confident or I can just share about this too. The struggle to believe I have a voice, the struggle to find that voice, and the self doubt that plagues me about whether there’s any benefit in me sharing that voice. That struggle isn’t just by the way, nor is it something I have to overcome first before I’m able to share about my experiences. It is all a part of my experience, this is the work. In my sharing this fear, doubt, and struggles and many others to come, I hope that you not feel alone in your fears, doubts and struggles.