I woke up this morning to the sound of music blaring from Mom’s iPod stereo, the sound I usually hear when everyone in the house is awake except for me. I smiled, pulling the covers tighter to protect me from how frigid my bedroom is in the winter.
I’m one of the quieter people in our house, but to most people I am loud. I slam doors and cabinets, I drop things, I yell when it’s time for dinner. I like my laughter, music, and TV with the volume turned up. Heck, I even walk loudly. It’s not from a lack of sensitivity, respect, or consideration towards others – I am just a loud person. I am a noisemaker. I live loudly.
Because of my loudness, I have spent a lot of my life being shushed. Certainly, talking loudly backstage is inappropriate. Since I have never been good at whispering, I had to learn to simply not speak at all. (This became a terrific life skill when discerning when to speak up vs. remain silent.) However, I became embarrassed of my loudness as I got older. I was shushed, even at parties or sleepovers. Being loud was obnoxious. And I wasn’t only loud, I was a loud girl. There is a certain immaturity associated with loud women, women who don’t know how to be quiet. It appears rash and disrespectful.
I always think before I speak, and sometimes I don’t speak at all. The volume I speak at is not directly correlated to how much I speak. But when I do speak, I speak clearly. There is no hiding behind how loud I say my words. I say them for everyone to hear.
I am not timid.
I am not shy.
I am outspoken.
I am loud.
So, to all the loud girls in the world, the ones who laugh loud and yell when they’re excited and when they’re angry: I understand you. You are not immature because you cannot hide your enthusiasm for life. You are not obnoxious because you don’t know how to “play it cool”. Talking loudly has no correlation to whether or not you think before you speak. It is one thing to demand the center of attention by shouting over other people, and it is entirely another to be loud simply because it is who you are. You are not too loud – you have a voice that carries. Use that to your advantage.
And to myself, the girl who has been shushing herself for nineteen years: it is okay to make noise in this world. Make a space for you, simply as you are, and let yourself be heard.