from the mouths of babes

finding the value of using your voice

When my youngest daughter was little, she had a voice. And...she most definitely used it.

With anyone.

As she began to grow and absorb all of the cultural expectations and norms in and around her life, I began to notice that

slowly, imperceptibly...her voice became much more





Having just turned 17 this summer, I am now witnessing a new emergence of her voice. A recognition of its importance and worthiness.

And I have to smile.

This week, I humbly make room for her voice and her words as she recognizes this need within to speak out and speak up.

Without further ado, I present the thoughts of a young woman reclaiming her voice:

I feel the reverberations of silence from everyone but me.

Why can I say my piece

and be at peace

when those,

who also have voices and opinions and thoughts

seem shackled to the balance beams of popularity?

I speak out,

not heroically,

not bravely,

not as an icebreaker,

but rather because I refuse  to play into the idea that silence,

when kept by the majority,

should be kept with life and death consequence.

I have an opinion and I am in charge of

my self

my feelings

my actions

my reactions

my life.

I once feared the shaking of the boat.

I used to tremble from being singular and unique.

But if being different from the rest of my class means that my voice is heard

and I feel relief at this release,

then stick the social rules!

I'm gonna follow this lightness that tells me I've done right by my self.

So if you,

my dear ones,

think that silence sustained is adding any to your life,

we must agree to disagree.

Your voice is valuable and staying in a flock and silent

when you feel otherwise

when you fear leaving the well-worn trail…


dear ones,

you may begin to feel the  erosion that comes from biting your tongue.

I can tell you that,

from my experience,

when you let your tongue wag to your hearts delight,

your heart is delighted


that makes it worth the fight.

Lana Bastianutti