We had no voice.
“Be quiet and don’t say anything to upset________(fill in the blank).”
As girls, raised in the 1950’s, we heard this and many other ‘instructions’ as to the proper behavior for females.
“Don’t eat that, it’ll make you fat.”
“Girls can’t do that.”
If we didn’t actually hear those exact words, we had plenty of family and neighborhood women or TV shows setting the example.
Except for a few rebels! Some of them were famous nationally or worldwide and some were great influences on smaller scales.
Here are three examples of some of my heroines plus a bit of my personal story with fighting to have my voice heard. Then I’ll give you some tips and tools to allow you to be vulnerable enough to speak your own truths.
Each of the 3 following videos is exactly one minute in length and you will be astounded as you hear the authentic voice of these woman (played by actresses)!
1. 1875 Jennie Trout became the first woman in Canada to be a licensed medical doctor
2. 1929 Emily Murphy in the company of 4 other women succeed in having women declared as ‘persons’! Yikes, I don’t know what we were classified as prior to that!
3. 1935 Agnes MacPhail becomes the first woman Canadian Member of Parliament.
Note: When Agnes MacPhail arrived for a tour of a prison, she was informed by the warden that “ladies” were not permitted inside. She responded “I’m not a ‘lady’; I’m an MP.” What a ‘Voice”! She got her tour.
All these women used their authentic voice.
Some women were not so famous, like my grandmother. Her husband deserted her and their three children when he elected to remain in Europe after fighting as a soldier in World War 1.
Most women in her day could only survive by taking borders into their homes, but my grandmother had gone to University and earned a degree before she married and as a result she was able to get employment and became the Head Librarian of the Vancouver, BC library.
What she taught my cousins and I were proper grammar and diction of the English language, some French vocabulary, thriftiness and proper manners. She also told great stories of her own history.
During World War II, women worked in the factories building aircraft for the war effort and then flew them to their destinations.
When the soldiers came home, all women were expected to take their ‘proper place’ back in the kitchens, wearing aprons and maternity clothes. The men returned to many different varieties of the work force.
My parents were strict, but usually quite fair. However, one thing was very clear, there was to be no discussion or negotiation over their decisions or rules and they presented a solid, united front. There was no trying to play one against the other.
If I tried to express my opinion or in any way argue, my Dad would snap his fingers (he could really make it loud!) and point at me. He didn’t have to say a word, I knew to shut my mouth and be quiet. I did not have a voice.
I became an adult believing I could not speak my truths or opinions nor bend any ‘rules’. So words would build up inside me, I wanted to express myself, but I was afraid to, so I became a writer instead.
It would take a buildup of feelings, not unlike the accumulation of a volcano’s hot lava, before I could speak out and by then the hurt was expressed as anger because that seemed to be an approved manner of expression.Tears were emotional women’s stuff.
The first time I did this, my husband at the time, hit me so hard across the side of my head, my eardrum broke. Lesson re-learned. I retreated into silence or agreement.
My strong spirit would not allow me to stay there though. It has taken many decades, at times with timid, cautious forays to learn the best and most positive ways of using my authentic voice. And as the Universe arranged, I actually had to become a public speaker to succeed in business!
If any of this resonates or sounds familiar to you, remember that these messages of our youth are difficult to change. They are, for the most part, unconscious. It took me so many years to realize what I was doing and why.
But once I found my authentic voice and began to respectively let her out, I feel much more real. The hard part is accepting that if someone reacts poorly, it is his or her stuff and not mine. I still slip sometimes, allow others to make me think I am unlovable, insecure and never do things right. These times become fewer.
TIPS AND TOOLS FOR YOU
1. Listen to your intuition (your gut), it is always right. These messages help you feel calmer and more harmonized, while your reasoning mind usually has you feeling something more negative. That’s how you can tell the difference.
2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Brené Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” teaches more on this subject and I highly recommend it. Vulnerability is a really authentic feeling and when we allow others to see ours, it has the power to pour oil over rough waters.
3. Keep emphasizing your positive attributes to yourself. We spend far too much time on the opposite, kicking ourselves for our shortcomings. And don’t ever let anyone else make you feel guilty for being who you are.
4. Begin to use your voice. Be honest, be respectful, but use it. You will make some mistakes, but you will be in learning mode. Be strong. Your people are not used to hearing you do this. Don’t allow them to shut you up because of their stuff.
You are a gift to this world; otherwise you would not be here!
Leave me a comment blow, I’m aways grateful for your feedback.
Likewise feel free to share this article on social media by clicking the icons provided.
Lastly, remember that you can have a conversation with me at no-cost, one on one for about an hour. Just click here and make your request.