“You talked a lot as a child”, my mother would say after I babbled about something on the phone for 20 minutes. I’d immediately want to stay quiet after she said that. “I love when you talk like this.”
My dad said the same thing when I asked him about it. “Oh my gosh! I would fetch you from your grandmother and the whole drive home you would talk. Nonstop.” (The drive was probably 20–25 minutes long.)
For years, I thought it was a bad thing that I used to talk a lot as a child, but I realised something as the thought bounced a lot in my head.
I had a lot to say.
I had so much to say about nothing. And I was unapologetic about it. I told you what I saw, what I learned and what I heard. Because it was all new to me. My parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents knew all about the things I was telling them about. But to my peers and me, it was all knew. Learning about the sound a cow makes or counting until 20 or why a circle can’t fit in a square hole. I wasn’t telling them anything new (most of the time) because they knew it already. But they knew it was new to me, so they listened.
Then something changed.
It’s weird to think of my younger self. Because when I look at who I am today, we’re two different people. I second guess everything I say. I think three times before I speak. I stay quiet when I think it won’t add any value. And when I do know something, learned something new or wanna share something? I don’t share it. I don’t share it because whoever I share it with might already know it (“yeah I knew that already”) or not find it interesting at all (they politely nod and carry on with the conversation as though I didn’t say anything).
Like Oprah’s iconic line with her interview with Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex:
“Were you silent or were you silenced?”
For me, it’s both. I was silenced by the people around me because I thought what I had to say didn’t matter and continued to stay silent because it would probably never matter.
But that’s something I want to change.
I want to say what’s on my mind and not care what others have to say about it, whether they care or not, that isn’t my concern. My concern and priority are saying what I want to say and sharing like a child. To be open and tell people what I saw on the internet, struggle to tell them about a video I saw as I laugh recalling it or random thought that popped into my head and sprang right out of my mouth.
To share like a child.
It’s definitely going to take some unlearning and a lot of discomfort. But if there’s something I’m beginning to learn as I grow up, growth comes from discomfort and happiness comes from trying something new. So start sharing like a child, openly and free (given that it isn’t harmful or discriminatory) and tell someone something just because you can.