Goodness, where do I begin? I’ve always struggled with expressing myself. When I was a child, my mom would say to me, “Krystal, you have the ability to express yourself.” See, I was a quiet little girl. Quiet, introspective, contemplative. I remember struggling with words, struggling with language because I literally did not have the ability to express myself. I simply didn’t have the words, the vocabulary. As a result I would cry, or pout, or hide away in my bedroom, especially when I had trouble expressing my anger.
Like any introverted child, my inner life was rich and full of fantasy, imagination, and vivid unseen worlds! I loved to read, and I lived in my head. I absorbed the images of the world around me, and I created the alternate reality of an introverted soul.
I never had a voice.
Growing up in a frequently emotionally volatile home, living in Vermont (sometimes called the “whitest state in the Union”), and attempting to dodge the racist darts thrown my way, my voice burrowed deeper and deeper inside of me. The one time I spoke out about the racism I experienced in elementary school, I was silenced by the very woman who told me I had the ability to express myself. Maybe I had the ability to express myself, but I didn’t seem to have the ability to be heard.
So I kept silent. Silent over the racist taunts from my white classmates from the first grade through the fifth. I kept silent about the inappropriate contact from my mother’s friend’s daughter. I kept silent about my suicidal thoughts that plagued me before the age of 11, but somehow found their way into my fiction writing.
[Tweet ” We can’t let our temperament suppress the treasures deep within. We have the right to speak.”]
Later on in life, I kept silent about the mental and emotional abuse from my work supervisor. Because no one would listen to me anyway – or so I thought.
Now I’m in my late thirties, and for the first time, I’m embracing and trusting my voice. I’m finding my full expression as a woman, a black woman, an introverted black woman, an introverted black woman with a lifetime of experiences hung in the suspension of my thoughts.
I have not arrived. But I am awake.
There is still much that needs to come out of me before I leave this planet. There are still dances I need to choreograph, books I need to write, songs I need to sing, and lives I need to influence.
My voice is just emerging.
Introversion is not a sentence of silence. Yes, we introverts live in a world of thoughts, ideas, clever inventions, critical analyses, and boundless fantasy. But we can’t let our temperament suppress the treasures deep within. We have the right to speak. We have the right to grow bigger than we’ve allowed ourselves. Sometimes there is a power in silence. But if the silence causes you to shrink as a person, then that silence is deadly.
In the next post, “Steps to Regaining Your Voice,” I’m going to explore the ways in which I found my voice and began to emerge with a message for similar souls.
In what ways have you been silenced? Have you regained your voice? What was the process? Let me know in the comments below.