“Shut up!” “Silence!” “Keep your mouth shut!”

I heard that a lot growing up when dad was sleeping when I got home from school. Then, as a teenager, when I had an opinion about something I was silenced. Nothing I said was important or taken seriously. Nothing I said mattered. I didn’t matter. So I became invisible. I kept to myself.

It seems that my whole life I was told to keep quiet. So much so that I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t express myself and much less my feelings. That’s why when I met T-Rex at the age of 18 and realized that he saw me for who I was, and actually liked me; I fell head over heals in love with him. But that’s another story.

The first time I opened my mouth to talk about myself, I was about 20 years old. I had two friends over at my place and one started talking about how his mother had fallen down the stairs drunk. That’s when I cut in and started talking about what I had been suffering for years. I couldn’t stop talking, and shaking and crying. My friend Nadine kept staring at me in shock. She knew nothing of this and the more I talked, the more tears streamed down her face. I was finally free to talk and I had people who listened! People who believed me. From that moment on, I would tell anyone who wanted to hear, but there weren’t many.

Today, I am 54 years old and I know the value of silence. Silence can keep you out of trouble, but silence can also make you slip through the cracks when opportunities arise. The thing is, you gotta know when to speak up and when to keep your mouth shut. I’ll figure it out someday. How about you? Have you figured it out yet?


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