I’ve always been soft-spoken. When I speak, my voice is audibly quiet. I’ve been told it’s like a whisper sometimes. It’s surprising because most of my family is very loud. I’m used to it by now, I roll with it. I dub myself the listener. In large groups, I love taking account of what others have to say, I sparsely comment myself. Often times, I’m okay with it.
I’ll be real and honest here though, sometimes I just feel like I’m drowning with the soft voice I have amongst all the loud ones that take up so much prominence in this world.
Just because my voice is soft, doesn’t mean I don’t have words to say.
In college I would always be told to speak up, I would lose points for listening during a discussion instead of loudly shouting my opinion out above the others in the class. The times I did speak up, I either wasn’t heard, having to repeat myself over and over again or raise my hand to show people I was speaking, or I was met with hostile ears that would completely negate my opinion and viewpoints. One time I was even called a hypocrite for my viewpoint on a simple children’s book. This happened in multiple classes. My soft voice with its opinions wasn’t welcome. They wanted me to use my voice to agree with the them and them only, not speak for myself.
By my senior year, there would be times I would intentionally not say anything. If they were going to meet my viewpoints with hostility, and only listen to what they agreed with, then I was bound to be silent. My silence was loud, I stood out because I was the only person in the room who didn’t saying anything. Looking back on it, I’m not sure that was the right approach to the situation. Some may have label me a bad student, but in my mind was intent on standing my ground as a silent person.
Just shy of two years out of college, I’ve begun to realize just because I have a quiet voice, doesn’t condemn me having to be a silent person forever.
Although I do think I made a point in being quiet during the class by letting my silence be loud, I’ve let that come with me into the rest of my life. I don’t always want to be a silent person. I want to speak even if the world isn’t listening or doesn’t agree with me.
Everyone can agree that this day in age is full of noise, and the loudest get the most attention. With the riots, tyrant social posts, and non-stop news feeds with bold headlines, it seems like the world only makes room for the blaring, strongly opinionated, and loud voice. People will only listen to the voices that tower above the rest, and it’s a fight to get there. It is intimidating.
But I don’t think the loud voices aren’t the only important voices in the world. There is a place for soft voices too. I’ve been searching for where that place is, but I know there is a place for them.
The quiet ones speak softly, shaking, a murmur under the noise. They are only there when you calm down and listen for it.
Along with having a soft voice, I notice I water down the voice I have to accommodate what I think people want to hear. But I’m determined to take back my language. Not being afraid to make mistakes and being corrected in a beautiful way, but also taking into account that I’m not going to please everyone.
Maybe it’s time we say come the soft voice, come the quiet speakers, and ready listeners. Keep talking, keep speaking, keep using your voice no matter how much of a whisper it comes out. It’s time you speak what you have to say, to whoever is ready to listen, to those who agree and disagree with you, or maybe even if no one is listening all. Speak away.