A blog reflection by Women’s Center intern Mariana de Matos Medeiros
I’ve been working on a draft for this blog post for over 6 weeks. It’s been intimidating and scary to be vulnerable in such a public space.
I was hoping to describe how I self-silence and how I struggle to find words that match my thoughts and feelings. I often try to polish them, make them perfect and pristine. Drafting and editing about a million times and still feeling like what I’ve written is not quite right. Sometimes I feel that folks are all too willing to accept that femme women often struggle with expressing their unique voices.
Further, my ideas and how I express them through writing—in other words my voice—have often been devalued. Whether through my experience with academic writing or the constant rhetoric that lived experience is less valuable than ‘objective’ facts found through scientific research. Often, lived experience is closely associated with emotion and thus femininity. It feels invalidating and that my thoughts are only valuable if I can back them up with an outside source.
Recently, while scrolling through my various social media pages, I noticed that I share poetry quite often. In fact, out of 20 posts on my Facebook about 12 of them were poetry by Rupi Kaur.
Some of them include:
Sharing these images and words is how I communicate with my friends via social media. Often, the poetry I share is a reflection of my thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
Which sounds like the definition of ‘my voice’ that I described earlier.
Perhaps, it’s fine that I can’t find my own perfect words to convey my voice. I’m finding that self-expression does not have to fit into a box of what other people expect. Also, that there is value in empathizing and sharing other people’s words in addition to creating my own.
It is self-expression anyway and if I feel accurately represented by the words and images that others have created, then so be it.
Poetry has played an immense role in my healing from sexual violence. The words of others have also served as a reminder that I am not alone. My experience did not happen in isolation. The personal is political. I have a community and that realization has changed everything for me.
This journey to finding my voice belongs deeply to me and I can make it my own.