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  • Writer's pictureCoach Elizabeth Brink

Speak Up!

Your enthusiasm and talkativeness are not character flaws. Talking is how we think. When we feel ashamed of how we process, we shrink. I love to tell stories, weaving in and around tangents not knowing if they're essential context. The choose-your-own-adventure novel running through my mind is wildly entertaining to me.

Sometimes as we talk we spark clarity and answers. We amuse ourselves, bringing comic relief to a heavy world. We inspire others with the connections our brains churn out.

The trouble is the shrinking and shame. Oh, sweet sister, the world needs you to live and not hide. I'm sorry it's not always safe to do so.

I hate how the pointed judgments and intuited standards of behavior harm

those of us who aren't naturally "that way." It's not your fault that others feel uncomfortable when you don't wear a mask and use all your energy holding yourself. I say, let them squirm.

The expectations in personal and professional relationships to perfectly perform are the opposite of belonging. Social etiquette is intended to sort us into categories so others know to engage or retreat -- a convenient code by which to help us reject outsiders. These are not your people.

Navigating connections with others in this way perpetuates the division and stigma among people who are unique from each other. (which, by the way, is ALLLL people)

Do we sometimes need to mask and play these harmful games? Sadly, yes. It can be the best decision for you, and that is okay. We can't all demand to be seen and treated like human beings. Isn't that the grossest statement ever? Hopefully, someday it will not be true. You are worthy and valuable just as you are and just because you are.

What is possible if you believe that? I hope you find places where your voice is respected, indulged, and celebrated.

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