i can't hear you

speak up. i can't hear you. you are mumbling.

i hear these phrases more often now than i did as a kid. 

i trip over my words now, as though thoughts are coming too quickly and my lips and tongue and mouth can't keep up. i think that is why i got a little bit quieter a few years ago. i noticed a change in my speech.

when someone tells me to speak up, i usually do, in the moment, and then get quieter for the rest of the time. i've made a mistake. i've spoken wrong. i've not been clear. why speak anyway?

also there are so many loud people in the world. people who love to hear themselves talk. why talk at all?

but speaking is a good thing. speaking up is a good thing. sometimes not speaking up is a bad thing. of course, there are big, societal examples of that. but then there are the small examples too.

last week i didn't speak up about something. i don't want to go into it because, contrary to popular belief, i don't want to share every last detail with the internet. suffice it to say that i stayed quiet despite something happening that was emotionally, and physically, painful. i suffered through it, waiting for it to end. when it was over, i didn't show any of what i had just gone through. 

i have written words like that so many fucking times it feels pathetic. [but it is not pathetic, i know]

a friend mentioned that she liked how this blog seems to repeat itself. i seem to be processing many of the same things over and over again. well, this is one of those things. this is one of those things i keep feeling like i solve and then i am thrust into situations and i see i've gained no ground at all.

why don't i speak up, folks?

why don't i stand firm in my convictions when it comes to myself, my being, my emotions, my body?

why do i let others hurt me--emotionally, physically, hypothetically?

why do i swallow the pain and just deal with the consequences?

i am so loud and strong in retrospect. i am so adamant and angry after the fact. there is a delay between the act and the reaction. it is like my reflexes are too slow. it is the next day, it is the next month, it is years later and, after much thought, that i see how i let myself down again. how i see that i found myself trying to please another person more than please myself. how i see that i push myself down and down and down.

in retrospect, i see that i am the one that will carry the burden. why do i choose that instead of lightness? 

really the question is: why do i choose another person instead of myself?

i guess that feels like the big question right now. in more ways than one. that is the lesson i have yet to learn, the big one anyway. the scary thing is how much i put myself at risk when i don't choose myself. it doesn't feel good in retrospect. it doesn't feel good at all.

and there are answers to that question--at least partial ones. like hello, i am a woman and a black woman and i've learned many times that that intersection is fraught with this. so often i've had to put myself down, hide myself, not be myself. so often i've had to choose another person. so often i've had to relay a feeling that i was another person. 

so those are partial answers.

but there is more. there is something very personal. 

there is something about my voice and speech vs. writing. there is something about vocalizing. something about my 5th chakra if you are into that. 

something. 

whatever it is i need to figure it out.

because letting yourself down...that doesn't feel good either.