Thursday, September 12, 2013

Having a voice

In the movie Titanic, there's a scene where Rose tells Jack how frustrating her life is. She describes the endless parade of dinner parties and other activities she sees as society's frivolous ways of keeping up appearances. But what stuck out to me the most was Rose's desire to have a voice. At one point, she compares it to standing in a crowded room, screaming at the top of her lungs -- and nobody even looking up.

It's easy to feel like this on a planet inhabited by over 7 billion people. How on earth do you stand out and make sure you're seen and heard? I've blogged before about the need to be noticed and feeling your efforts are futile. I've never felt that so much since graduating from college and entering the proverbial real world, where you go from competing with a few hundred or thousand people for attention to a few million.

But finding your voice is tough. Because for all the preaching our society does on "being yourself," there will always be people who not only disagree with the things you say and do, but have no trouble demeaning you for them. And we often refrain from speaking out for fear of being demeaned like this.

I can't tell you to speak out against something if you're insecure about it. And I can't tell you everyone will like you. There will always be people who don't like you, and they have every right to feel that way. They don't have a right to treat you badly because they disagree -- but sometimes, there's not much you can do about it.

The other day, I read a blog post (on a blog I've since stopped following), that made me angry. Really angry. It was a post I'm sure a lot of people not only agreed with but advocated, and I was initially afraid to speak out for fear of being thrown under the bus. But I eventually typed up a comment that was respectful, but still in vehement disagreement with the post. People might disagree with me, even try to respond negatively to my comment, and that's fine. They can have their opinion and I can have mine. But my mind is made up.

And it felt really, really good to stand up for what I believe in. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a voice and am using it -- even if I'm the only person singing a particular tune.


  1. Love this, Mary! It's takes courage to speak up in every kind of situation, but especially in writing. Especially in our books, but that's where we find the biggest payoff for digging deep and having the guts to say something that is true for us but not necessarily for anyone else. I'm cheering for you!

  2. You've put me in mind of that FABULOUS scene from probably the best movie of the decade, Kings Speech. When Geoffery Rush says, "Why should I listen to you?" and Colin Firth shouts "BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE." And Rush smiles and says. "Yes. Yes you do."

    Great post!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, with Joy)