GOOD LISTENER. NICE GIRL. SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO.
As a woman, I hear these messages in my head, playing over and over. It took me nearly thirty years to learn how to tell them to shut up.
I'm not sure who first said them to me. Was it the media? Was it my family? Was it my nation? Or was it me? Some internal dialogue that believed these words that were whispered in my ear at birth because of my gender. I don't know where they came from, and maybe that doesn't matter.
The problem is that I listened to them. I listened to these voices, as I listened to other voices of authority. Don't Speak. Your voice doesn't matter. You might be wrong. They know more than you. I listened to every voice but my own.
And then I became pregnant. My baby grew inside of me and heard MY voice: only MY voice. He could hear me mumble, sing, yell, and talk. He knew my voice before he was even born. He entered this world already knowing the sound of my voice.
Now, as he grows, he hears my voice from another room. He hears me laugh in the kitchen and cries so I can come hold him or nurse him. He loves me and my voice. His large, eyes, search me in wonderment and awe as I tell him things, as I sing him songs.
My voice matters to him. It matters to me. My voice can make a difference in one life.
So can yours.