Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Silence is not always...Golden

When I was growing up there was a phrase that many people lived by or should I say hung there hat on for convenience…”Silence is Golden”. I even remember as a child that there were signs in my grammar school class rooms that espoused this credo. Many of us as children were told “children should be seen and not heard”. Of course as adults we then repeated what we were raised to believe. In the European culture children were allowed to speak their minds and say what they wanted to adults. Of course that was not the same in the culture of people of color. The minute you tried to immolate what Bobby or Susie said to their parents to any adult in your family or extended family (and that was anyone) you quickly learned that this was not allowed by getting a swift butt whoopin.
Now as an adult I feel that we should not have been told to be silent but to speak our minds in the appropriate setting. We should not have been disrespectful by any means. By instilling these lessons as children we have taken these lessons on to adulthood and remained silent when we really should be speaking with a loud voice. The only way to make a change is to speak up and do so boldly to allow yourself a voice in that particular space. It may not bring about the change that you may want but when you show up the people in the room will know that they can count on you to speak from your heart and mind. This in no uncertain terms keeps people in check for at times that is what is needed. You have to know when to speak and to do so from a basis of fact and not just conjecture.
I have stood on the sidelines many times and not spoken up and walked away kicking myself for allowing things to be said in my presence that I totally disagreed with. This silence thing takes over ever part of your life. Back in the mid to late 80’s HIV/AIDS began to ravage the LGBT community and yet the government was not speaking on it to any major degree. A group of activist began a campaign to ensure that the government noticed the community and those impacted by this virus. They came up with a very cleaver campaign entitled “Silence = Death”. It is a short statement but the impact was accurate and totally to the point meaning that the longer we put our heads in the sand the more people are going to die. This statement can be and should be applied to any area of your life where you have been content to stay silent for your own comfort.
Recently I have had to apply this very statement to my life. I typically try not to cause any uprising and want to keep things quiet and cordial especially when it comes to my relationship. However, I have learned that I had to speak up and make things a bit uncomfortable at times to get noticed and for the situation to change. There are those in life that love to argue, however, that is not part of my character. I did not grow up surrounded by those that argue so I do not like hearing it or being involved in it. Therefore, there are times when I just remain silent. Silence in not always golden for doing so lead to the death of my relationship. There were things affecting the relationship that WE avoided discussing in an effort to keep the peace. Not discussing them did not make them go away. When the time came to really discuss these issues it was a bit too late the relationship had already started to decay (i.e. Silence = Death). The death was not a physical one but death none-the-less. Our silence equaled the death of our relationship. Allow your presence to be acknowledged for the moment you do not do so death will be imminent.

Speak boldly and with authority for Silence is not always Golden!!!

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