Our voices are our strength, weapon, and power. We have the ability to do great things with them. But having a voice is something that is often taken for granted and used for gossip, hate, and bitter words. Instead lifting others, or ourselves, up, we choose to tear people down with what we say. It is important to use your voice for the positive because whether you know it or not, your voice can do a lot.
This weekend, I went to an Open Mic and got to hear some incredible artists. And while I was sitting there, I decided to dig deep and listen. In doing so, I learned why it really is so important to use your voice.
1. Telling Your Story
Every person has a unique, important story to share. When we share our stories, we become free of any pain hidden in them; we get to re-experience and share all the joy. Wen Lianne Martin got to the stage, she was spunky and smiling, and when she told her story, she put her soul into it. What captured me is when she said, "And if 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted or abused, then I guess I am pretty lucky that this is all I have to show for being a statistic". In one sentence, I felt like I learned so much about this person who I didn't even know existed before today. Because she used her voice, she was able to share a piece with herself to the people in the room. And while it probably affected each person differently, it had an effect nonetheless.
2. Creating and Gaining Confidence
It is important to use your voice even when you are scared. When one girl got up to the microphone, she said, "Sorry if this sucks". But in her moment of fear and uncertainty, everyone in the crowd clapped and cheered for her. They encouraged her to do her absolute best. This is so important because sometimes using your voice is hard. All you want to do is stay quiet and let others speak for you. When you do this, you lose part of who you are. Having a voice means having the ability to conquer the world. We must learn to have the confidence and strength to use it without hesitance.
3. Spreading Awareness
Sometimes, people are oblivious, or ignorant, to the things happening around them. We have a tendency to block out the things we don't want to hear. But when you use your voice, you force people to listen. Amiri Lynx got up to the stage and shared his power when he said, "I can't breathe, hands up and hands tied. I won't bleed because my blood might meet your quota". Amiri opened the eyes of people to see the world we are living in today because not everyone is lucky enough to leave their house unafraid. He spoke for the people whose voices are not always heard, and he spoke for himself as a man seeking justice.
4. Bringing People Together
Using your voice does not always have to be done through spoken word. There are so many different ways to express your thoughts and opinions without saying them aloud. At this open mic, all different people were brought together. You had people who were poets, musicians, and even me, a writer eager to share the stories I heard. It's important to remember that people tell their stories in many different ways whether it be through playing piano or guitar, or by sharing a poem near and dear to their heart. No matter how you choose to go about it, use your voice in a way that brings meaning and purpose to you.
5. Sharing Your Opinions
One of the most important uses of using your voice is simply the ability to share your opinions. When Lex spoke, she said, "When asked to spit a few verses, it became less about being perfect and more about purpose. Less about what's on the surface and more about lessons learned". Speaking and being open about your opinions doesn't have to be perfect. When you use your voice for a purpose, it becomes its own version of perfect because it has meaning and power behind it. People can speak pretty words all they want, but if it has no meaning behind it, what's the point?
I encourage every person who reads this to step out of their boundaries and work harder and sharing their voice. Speak your mind and be open to the world around you. More than anything, be open and true to yourself.