“To express yourself with your voice needs a reason, but expressing yourself is the reason,” is quoted by Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei has been fighting for freedom of expression and human rights in China through art, social media, and legal battles with one’s voice. Expressing oneself through their voice involves conveying one’s opinion, feelings, etc. vocally to another. We use our voice in various ways including clarifying and developing an understanding (breaking stereotypes), speaking out against or for a cause, socializing and connecting with others, conveying a message, expressing emotions, etc.
Expressing one’s emotions at times is difficult for some people. People feel that other’s may not understand nor will accept. Blocking emotions from other’s can leave them lost, causing isolation within you. Over time I have learned to block out my emotions often. I keep my emotions in, rather than having to express them to others and explain. It’s a feeling of hopelessness and fear of disapproval that prevents me from expressing myself from my parents most of the time.
My father continually travels to where his job takes him, never being at home, usually around the time when things get difficult. My father’s constant take-offs leave me distorted at times, and never to raise my voice and express my emotions. I have not learned to use my voice to express my emotions under the fear of disapproval/rejection and hopelessness having been left alone to deal with situations on my own. As my father made his “grand” entrance through the front door, carrying his humongous suitcase with a month’s worth of laundry leaving a dirty stench in the air. He gave a brisk hug and “hello” to my brother and I. He gave a peck on my mom’s cheek. With a deep sigh, he dropped onto the couch, falling into sleep on the spot, his snores that soon came after to break the silence.
After an hour or so, he got up, yet was tired and need of regaining energy that was lost during the past hour on a plane from Colorado, where his last consultant job was stationed at. His heavy feet ambled upstairs straight into the bathroom. He came downstairs after an hour, rapidly scuttling towards the office room. He picked up the phone, only to find himself in a meeting that would conclude after a few hours. After a strenuous two hours, he came out to eat dinner with us, being some of the small moments we all are together. We asked him questions of his recent trip, but only given brief and terse responses. In the middle, the phone began to blare with its whiny ringtone. My father got up to pick up the phone. We remained silent, anticipating who it may be. With a quick farewell, he placed the phone back on its stand. He plopped back down on his seat, and quietly began eating again, but deep in thought though.
At the end of our meal, my dad asked us to wait a minute before we all disperse from the dining table only to drop a bombshell. “I’m leaving for New Jersey in a week. Eagles Investments just called, and I have asked me to join as soon as possible. I am supposed to get more details soon, but they have asked me to be there by next week at the most,” is all he announced. He pushed back out of his chair and got up. He makes his way to the sink, letting the water run across his plate and dropping it in the sink. He trudged back to the office room, carelessly, slamming the door with a “thud.” We were all left with distorted thoughts and silence that filled the room, with lingering sadness and disapproval. It wasn’t a surprise, but none of us could speak up and tell my dad to not leave as he always does in a constant blur, yet instead take a vacation. These spontaneous trips became a regular part of life, having lost its spontaneity.
“Ugggh, he does this constantly. I expected him to at least be here for two weeks, especially since it’s been a month since he’s been home, but no. I can’t deal with this right now,” declared my mother with exasperation written all over her face. My brother and I couldn’t care less, because this was normal and at that moment all that mattered was playing Fortnite to him. Meanwhile though, deep down I knew that our family was just growing apart every time this happened. I never dared to open up and express myself upon his gathering up and leaving every month as if he were running from something. He never was there, always traveling to someplace new for work, with minimal vacation. Whether he was here or there, it was as if he was a passing by ghost.
Expressing my desire for him to stay, pushes me to fear what his answer may be. With him leaving constantly, I believe he will end up telling me no and point out he has to work to help the family, but sometimes I wish he would just take a long pause, and spend time with us, his family. I fear he may see my request as selfish. After a week, that went by like any other, with school, work, constant clicking at the laptop, and an occasional movie, he left with a different suitcase, filled with a fresh supply of laundry. He sped off in his car as if he were running to catch the train last minute. The idea of opening up and expressing my feelings just doesn’t suit me.
The idea itself leaves me terrified by rejection and ending up hearing what I do not desire. I feel an excessive need to please people and to meet what I perceive to be their expectations. I get afraid that people would not like if I expressed my thoughts and feelings. I at times am convinced that my relationship with my father will not improve if I express these feeling, only seem as selfishness. I feel that I have attempted at expressing my sincere feelings before, but it seems that he hasn’t listened. I even believe at times that my father is just too stubborn and insensitive to be able to change. These positions represent my giving up and an established position of hopelessness that has formed my conclusion on why I shouldn’t express myself.
Often, we limit the range of our expressiveness by perception and error in believing that there are only two options: either directly expressing them, for example in personal confrontation), or “swallowing” the feelings and keeping them to ourselves. Actually, though there are many ways to respond to these withheld feelings and express oneself. To some extent, you express feelings any time you’re under the influence of these feelings, shown in your behavior, but the intensity of expressing these feelings can vary widely. Expressing certain emotions and feelings leaves some under fear and exasperation. Don’t keep all feelings sheltered for expressing them prevents one’s life from being warped under thick layers, known to be walls.
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