Freedom to speak one’s mind – it is a luxury that many do not have. You may remember that line from the Lewis Carroll classic novel Alice in Wonderland, wherein the Queen snapped at Alice, “Speak when you are spoken to!” Of course Alice, in her logical way argued the reasonableness of the Queen’s request (that Alice was quite precocious).
In a free country we have been led to believe we pretty much have the freedom to say what we think and what we want to say whenever we want to say it; but, in reality, we don’t always have that freedom. There are some limitations on what we can say out and about in the world – well, at least what we can say without accruing a civil or criminal penalty. But for the most part, in the United States, we are fairly free to speak our own mind – most of us.
Yet there are those that because of their position in the community or constraints placed on them by their job that are not so free to speak. There are those who keep their mouths shut so as not to upset friends or family; and, there are those who simply remain silent for fear of what other people will think if they do share their thoughts and opinions.
I am free to speak my own mind and I indulge that liberty daily – here on my blog and as I go about my life. I am fortunate that my voice is not confined or stifled by others. I am aware that everything that I speak of is not universally loved and embraced by all…yet still I am allowed the freedom to speak. I don’t know that I could have it any other way at this juncture of my life, but I am still quite grateful that I do have that luxury.
I believe that having been afforded the luxury to speak freely that I sometimes have a responsibility to lend my voice to those whose voices are stifled…to those who canno,t or dare not, speak out. This used to drive my children crazy, but over the years I have watched them learn to use their voices in the same way.
People have said that I speak out as I do because I am fearless, but that is far from the reality. I speak out because I can’t live with myself if I don’t and that outweighs any fear I may have - and it even outweighs sensibility at times. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am no revolutionary. The things I say aren’t starting meaningful social movements or blowing the lid off dirty political scandals. I am just a nobody who observes the world from her little perch in the universe and who says what she thinks as she sees fit…tis’ true though, I speak even when I am not spoken to. And I make no apologies for doing so, as I traveled a long road to get to this place and I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am.
But if there is one thing I would encourage everyone to strive toward in life, it is to work toward that fortunate freedom…to work toward a free voice. I believe it is within that freedom that we grow closest to our truest selves. The place where our core beliefs, convictions and values live – the stuff of which we are made of – that is where our free voice frolics. Trust me, this I know.
Day one thousand and ten of the new forty – obla di obla da