During my junior year of high school, my English teacher told my class to “write in order to express rather than to impress.” Now, I know this might seem obvious, but at the time it was quite liberating—you mean I get to write freely without thinking about what my grade will be, what people will think of me or whether or not I crafted the perfect essay? For the first time in my life, Iloved writing. This same teacher had our class do some strange exercises over the course of the year that were supposed to help us get to know ourselves better. We got to choose flowers, animals and numbers that represented both our interiors and exteriors, at which point tulips became my all time favorite flower. We got to write argumentative speeches about anything we wanted, at which point I found my passion for justice. She introduced me to Virginia Wolfe, at which point I realized that I am, proudly, a feminist (for which I am forever grateful). It was during this class that I started to develop a voice ofmy own, that I started to express my genuine self, and most importantly, that I found the desire to know myself as deeply and as fully as I possibly could and began some serious self-reflection in the form of writing.
I often hear people say, “be a voice for the voiceless,” and I get that. I get it and I like it, but someone once told me something that makes me rethink this phrase. I was speaking with a man about the warring and raping (of both land and women) occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when he said: “No, don’t be a voice for the voiceless; empower the voiceless to have their own voices.” Empower. Yes. I imagined becoming a mirror so that others could see their own worth, their own power, their own voices. I was so inspired I needed to write about this, and it was within this writing that I decided that eventually I would write a book of all my own stories that have defined me as the person that I am becoming. I would call it: A Voice of One’s Own. First, because it would be my own authentic voice; second, because realizing my voice is a necessary step in my ongoing self-discovery; third, because by liberating myself to express this voice freely, I wanted those who heard to be liberated as well, to know by my confidence and acceptance of self that they too had a voice and stories worth hearing. I wanted to express love to both myself and others by means of my voice. I wanted to join a chorus of other voices singing of love.
This past April, I was disheartened by the dehumanizing comments of so many of my peers within the context of “cyber bullying,” as it’s called. Okay disheartened doesn’t begin to describe it. I was so disappointed in humanity I didn’t even want to try anymore. It was then that someone approached me with an idea—an idea to create a safe space for people to lift each other up by means of love and joy. He wanted us to write about what gets us out of bed in the morning, what makes us smile every day, why we are who we are and the little things that make our lives most beautiful. We would have voices from all different perspectives and walks of life and create a community growing purely out of the spirit of love that I so deeply believe flows through us all. And here it is.
This all being said, this space is not only about my voice, not only about our voices, but also about expressing joy and love, empowering and liberating each other and creating a safe space to explore ourselves and grow together into ever-more-loving individuals. These stories are our stories. They are honest and they define who we are, where we are, have been, and where we are going. In reading each story, you receive a piece of a human being, tenderly expressing herself or himself in order to send love out into the world. We want, in order to honor our mission more fully, to invite (but not oblige!) each and every person who visits us to share stories, to find a voice of one’s own.
If you would like to share one or more stories on the blog or contact us in any way, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lovingly, mt