The Voice Within

Photo Credit: CZMJ Flickr via Compfight cc

When I can listen to the voice inside of me,
I will be free.

I have allowed myself to become
shackled by the expectations of others.
I have muted my own voice.

Other people fill my heads with shoulds,
what I should wear,
what I should want,
how much money I should have in my bank account,
when I should marry,
where I should live.
Why the dreams of others for me are valid?
While the ones I have for myself
should be forgotten.

To ignore the voice within is to be half alive.

Commercials tell us where we should shop.
Catalogs tell us what we should wear.
Songs tell us how love should be
and how the ending of that love should feel.
Travel brochures tell us where we should want to travel.
Magazines recommend the best makeup.
Soon I am confused.
Their voices speak louder than my own.

My wants become shouldn’ts,
Then with time,
They become couldn’ts.

And after a steady dose of the bitterness of life
They become can’ts.
Until one day I realized,
I couldn’t be fake much longer,
I shouldn’t try to please others,
at the expense of my own happiness.
I can’t continue being fake.
A puppet
whose strings are being pulled
by everyone else.

I shouldn’t want to do that.
I shouldn’t want to be that.
Because they say I will fail,
because it’s not realistic,
because I might not succeed,
because it’s childish.

Commercials are no longer aired,
there are always books newly out-of-print,
magazines become outdated,
many songs are one-hit wonders,
travel brochures are discarded
even the best of friends can come and go
styles become outdated,
but the voice within remains.

True sadness is when my own dreams end,
my desires become outdated,
because I stifled that voice so much
that I cannot even hear it anymore.

My voice is screaming.
I’m listening now.

Angela Arenivar

Angela Arenivar is a PhD student at Texas A&M University and a former National Spelling Bee contestant featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Spellbound. She fell in love with the power of words at a young age. When she is not working on papers for her studies, she writes in order to make sense of the world around her. She loves seeing the humor in everyday situations and loves rooting for the underdog.

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