“We’re going to start things off with an ICEBREAKER!”
Cue the panic, sweaty palms racing heart, eye contact avoiding fear.
“Tell you one interesting thing about myself?! What do I love to do in my spare time?!”
I search my brain for the most interesting thing about me. THERE’S NOTHING and the guy next to me is telling us all about how he attends circus school, saves dogs and speaks ten languages.
Speaking up has never been my forte. Icebreakers are torturous and small talk makes me cross the street or take the stairs.
I prefer one-on-one situations where we can talk about woo-woo spiritual things or that time you tripped and broke your nose when you were five.
Extreme shyness at a young age turned to me melding myself into an “outgoing-life-of-the-party-girl” type as a teenager to fit in. Feeling like a black sheep and desperately NOT wanting to be an outcast. You find ways to fit yourself into “friend” groups by adopting certain behaviours. Chameleon social style. I found myself, for many years, around people and participating in things I deep down didn’t agree with.
Bird’s eye view I had molded myself into someone I didn’t recognize or really honestly like.
Someone who never spoke up when things felt wrong, when someone hurt me, when I saw others hurting, when I hurt others. Someone who also never spoke up to jump on opportunities, to discover that things could be BETTER by breaking the ice.
Feelings? Get them the F away from me. I’ll fake it.
Despite all my “be vulnerable, share your story and everything is wonderful” mantras I really struggle with speaking up.
Because the reality is the reactions are sometimes not what we expect or want to hear. So we silence ourselves, stay in our safe zone and protect ourselves from possibilities.
Speaking up to get help (They MAY think I’m a failure, pity me and it will just make things worse).
Speaking up to tell him you love him (He MAY reject me so instead I’ll stay in the grey area where everything goes to die).
Speaking up to tell your truth (I may end up ostracized and alone, living with 50 cats and a TLC special).
You may take a step back and notice by NOT speaking up you stay stuck. Comfortably stuck.
Things and people and possibilities pass you by.
You live life in default when deep down you want to DESIGN your life.
Speaking up isn’t sunshine and rainbows because sometimes you WILL be rejected, you may be laughed at, you’ll fail and fall flat.
But then you know and you GROW from that.
Living in the “grey area” between where I live in default started to terrify me MORE than the fear of rejection, failure etc. that could come with speaking up. I am learning to live despite the downfalls. And love it.
I am learning that not everyone will love, understand or hear us when we speak but silence gets us nowhere.
Let’s practice saying something.
xo Collette Marie