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Sunday Kind of Love #43
Don't Tell Me To Be Quiet.
April 10, 2016

My mother spoke one language growing up and that language was loud. Thundering. Always three decibels above what my elementary school teachers referred to as your inside voice. It didn't matter if it was a directive to clean your room or a debrief with one of my aunts about the latest family gossip. She spoke loudly. She cackled. She boomed and she roared. To this day, when I visit for holidays or just for the weekend, my mother's voice dances from her spot on the couch down the hallway, competing with whatever television program I'm watching in one of the bedrooms.

I have my mother's voice. Albeit not the exact same tone or her New York accent, but the same heavy, big, and emphatic voice. I cackle. I boom and I roar. I'm certain my neighbors hear me through our thin apartment walls every night when I talk to my sister on the phone. I have mastered many things in this life, but whispering is not one of them.

I remember the first time a white woman told me to be quiet. I was only a few months into a new assignment at work, spitting off something during a conference call. The instant message box on my computer appeared.

"OMG, you're screaming!" the IM said, an observation from my cube mate.

I lost track of whatever was happening on the conference call. I don't remember what I said in response, but I remember mustering every quiet bone in my body to try and lower my voice. A flood of self-consciousness drowned me, and I wanted to recoil. I wanted to occupy less space. Take up less air. Even though I knew in my heart of hearts that I was not screaming; I was simply speaking.

There is something especially poisonous about a white woman telling a black woman to be quiet. I can't quite put my finger on it. I can't sum it up eloquently or make sense of it all. But, I know that when a white woman tells you to be quiet as a black woman, it sticks with you. It haunts you. It strikes you as a unique, covert, and slimy form of injustice. It reminds you that even on our best bra-burning days, we all are not fighting the same fight. The world is not experiencing or accepting us all in the same ways. And some days, we are simply cannibalizing one another.

Maybe that's why I haven't forgotten that IM. Maybe that's why it has stayed with me years later, even after I've bid farewell to that work assignment and continued making my way through this life. 

The world does not always appreciate loud folks. We deem them less smart, in desperate need of a lesson in self-awareness. But, some days, even when an intelligent and self-aware black woman simply speaks, it's too loud. It's too much. The world hasn't learned how to handle it. It hasn't learned how to handle us when we would rather raise our voices than repress them, or when we occupy the arenas God has unapologetically given us. The opportunities to speak, laugh, and fill these spaces with our sounds are not things for which we should require permission. These opportunities are our birthrights, and we have to welcome them as such.

So, I will still roar. I will speak up and I will not shrink. I will laugh loudly, all the way through these thin apartment walls and throughout this life. I will embrace the booming voice I've inherited from my mother. Because every time I speak, three decibels above an inside voice, it's  a tribute to her. It's a vestige of her. My sentences are her, and my laughter is her, and this is life is far too short and way too savage not to bring my mother with me in everything I do. 

Xoxo,
Tyece


Today's edition of Sunday Kind of Love is part of Write Your Ass Off, a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Click here to learn more.

ICYMI: Blog Post Highlights

"That woman I melt and mold myself into is why I have a litany of jokes bundled in my back pocket about how I will be single forever with 40 cats or how “You know I always crush on one artsy guy every year and it doesn’t go anywhere; it’s just par for the course.” She is why I brush off my sister when the potential of me with someone else dances off her tongue in dead seriousness. This woman is the reason why swelling romantic possibilities always only seem to suffocate me. So, instead, I shrink myself into a ball of cynicism and declare that things won’t ever work. I’m being silly. He “definitely does not like me like that.” Because there is some sort of sweet and sick satisfaction in letting my skepticism call the shots." –I Burn Buildings, I Wreck Promises 

"Because maybe that’s what artists are supposed to do. Broken down to its simplest common denominator, artists create the things that feel like home." –Feels Like Home [Color Theory Art Show Recap

News & Events

So, women have been writing their asses. 

We are 10 days into #WYAOApril, and I am so proud of every woman who is rising to the challenge. I've been doing my best to keep up with all of the magic that is happening while also digging deep and writing my own stories.

This is all about 10 days of your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. It's definitely not too late to join! 
Share your work and follow along using the hashtag #WYAOApril. I am going to dive into all the magic you guys spread during April. And, of course, I will rise to the challenge on my blog www.TwentiesUnscripted.com.

And, remember, if you don't have a blog or do not want to share your words publicly, just email me your writing (tyece@twentiesunscripted.com). 

I attended GG's first "Writing The Layers" workshop and it is something to see. You will leave feeling revived, refreshed, and ready to write your heart out. For those in DC, be sure to check out the next installment of this workshop on April 30. Click here to learn more and check out the video from the first event.
Writing is about the thoughts in our heads, the power in our pens, and the courage it takes to bring our stories to bear. If you'd like a push when it comes to dipping into your vulnerability and telling your story, let's do this thing. Together. Head over to www.TyeceWilkins.com to learn more.

The Grit Session and The Elevate Session will remain on sale for $25 until the end of April as part of Write Your Ass Off April.

Quotable and Notable

"Your instincts are right. It's important for us to treasure those days when the music stops. When there's nothing to do, no clatter or mounting to-do lists that usually forces our minds to race and ruminate. These are the days of reconstruction, of healing, of finding clarity and building space for the new. It's that beautiful moment when new chapters are being formed before we can even begin to conceive of them ourselves." –Monique John

 

Thank you for sharing in my journey as a woman and writer simply trying to find her way. Next edition: Sunday, April 24.
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