“Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in.“
I believe in equality
I believe in freedom
I believe in what cannot be seen
But most importantly,
I believe in having a voice. A voice that is able to flow and ebb, but still be heard. A voice that is not restricted by societal roles, by gender, by power, by influence. A voice that isn`t held back by cruelty, by pain, by fear, by the belief that you have no right to speak. The belief that you were given all you need to project your voice, even when the oppressor’s boot comes crushing down on your windpipe. The belief that to speak would mean to be suffocated by the judgement of those around you.
I believe in emerging from the ashes of a deathly fire. I believe in light. I believe that you were given speech so that you could build an armour out of language and hold it against your chest to fend off those who can`t see the beauty in the words you speak. I believe in stringing together a ladder out of the words and climbing up high out of a grave of oppressive silence.
I believe in the simplest form of speaking.
And it doesn`t have to verbal. Shown through hands that flow freely through the air, written down by glistening ink by the candlelight, choreographed in bounds and leaps, using the hands you were given to create something beautiful, something only you know the true essence of.
When I was younger, my voice was locked away in a chest that I couldn`t find the key too. I would call in others to help me sometimes, my gestures frantic and wide. And they would saunter in. Head held high, voice so loud I had to clasp my ears tightly and close my eyes. They would look around my small room, maybe they would pick up this or that before putting it back down again. Maybe they would accidently drop something and when we searched together, sometimes they would “accidently” step on me as they looked high and I looked low. And when they couldn`t find it, they would shake their head, kick the chest a couple times in frustration and close the door behind them. Sometimes with a bang, sometimes with a whisper.
And so I searched alone.
But how was I to know that the key was inside my pocket the whole time? That when I sat knees curled into my chest, tears streaming down my face I started to give up on my search. That someone came barging in, without asking, and sat down beside me. That the first thing they did was not look around but rather realize that some things can`t be found unless you talk to the person who lost it. That a voice is given as a gift, and with the right amount of nudging it didn`t take much to find the key.
Everyone has a key.
So I believe in digging out the key from your pocket. I believe in sidestepping the broken glass, the teared down curtains, the mess littering the floor, and approaching the chest. I believe in closing your eyes and knowing that whatever happens you have the courage to open what was meant to be yours all along. I believe in embracing every part of the life you were destined to live. I believe in having your voice flow for the world, because the world has been longing to put you down next to all the other beautiful poets, scholars, and authors. I believe that any cloth that threatens to bound you can fall away if you stand tall and proud.
I believe in a voice that isn’t afraid to rise.
I believe in a voice that knows it’s destined to be heard.
I believe in a voice that moves and shakes the ground it stands on.
I believe in a voice that is true and passionate.
I believe in a voice that can never be restrained.
I believe that the world has been waiting on the tip about to fall into the unknown and that we must allow ourselves to fall just so we can rise again on the ground of something new and see a whole new life.
I believe that the greatest injustice is the voices that have been captured, bound, cut off, destroyed, so that those who believe they’re above can tread on your broken ladder. I believe every voice has a right to be heard.
I believe in having a voice, and this is mine.
23 thoughts on “This I Believe-To Have a Voice”
I absolutely loved this piece, and every single word you wrote evoked such an imagery that I believe I was seeing through your eyes. This piece reminds me somewhat of Shane Koyczan’s ‘This Is My Voice.”, though personally I like your style more than Koyczan’s because of the lightness of it. (Also, not only your style do I commend, but your VOICE as well is felt in the piece! It makes your argument extremely strong!!!) This piece emulates light and flows so beautifully; your comparisons of voice to a key, a suit of armour, and a gift is so perfect for describing the versatility of voice.
Voice is something that I sometimes struggle with. I often choke back the things I wish to say to other people because I have a fear of offending, or worse, putting my foot in my mouth, which I have done on often enough occasions. The reminder to use my voice is one I do not get often enough, and your piece has encouraged me to do so. Thank you for your eloquence and your powerful message!
Thank you so much for you wonderful comment Ali! I agree with you on the point that sometimes fear becomes stronger than the voice we were given, and in those times it feels like it might just be better not to say anything. But if I can offer you anything in exchange for your help it’s this-never be afraid to speak because you were given a beautiful voice simply so the world could hear you. Never be afraid of the “what if’s” because sometimes what happens is so much more amazing then any “what if” we could have ever imagined. And, on the occasion you say something and regret it? You only learn and grow. More so then that, you can use your voice more than once. Don’t leave it at the regret, leave it at the point where you know you’ve done your voice justice.
Thank you so much once again.
This piece was magic. The imagery was awesome, and really gave me insight on who you are as an individual. The symbols you used were really unique, and displayed your skill as a writer to use words, and manipulate it as you wished. And yes, I can hear your voice loud and clear.
Though, if I was going to be honest, it was somewhat difficult to connect with this piece. It wasn’t because this piece was bad, it was more because I never really experienced this sort of problem in my life. As you probably know, I’m loud and a talker, so it really wasn’t hard for people to notice me.
But, this piece gave me a glimpse on soft-spoken people, and how just because they don’t speak, does not mean that they don’t have a lot to say. I guess the reason that I love this piece so much is because it reminds me that I’m not at the centre of the universe. Kudos to you, love!
Thank you for your comment Bryna!
I’m really glad you were able to hear my voice through writing, that’s a skill I’ve found in the past I have often struggled with.
I’m also sorry that you were able to not connect well with this piece, but I understand that messages have varying effects on people. The beautiful thing though that I would like to point out is that when passionate, or in your case “loud,” and soft-spoken people come together we’re able to create a harmony out of voices that echo around the world. So perhaps it’s not so bad to be loud just as it’s not so bad to be soft-spoken. Just knowing that you have the option to unlock your voice is what one always has to keep in mind.
Thank you so much again!
What a courageous reply to a wonderful piece! I love the way you connected the your disconnect with the piece based on your own experiences and personality.
First of all, I just want to express how much this piece touched me. As I was reading it, a painful lump preceding tears formed in my throat. You wrote with so much of a passion that it truly moved me.
You have this amazing way with words and because of the powerful imagery in this piece, I felt I could- even if just for a moment- see the world through your eyes.
I used to be much the same way as you describe yourself to have been; quiet, observant, sweet, and unfortunately so passive that people had a tendency to walk all over me. For years I struggled to figure out how to take the things I was screaming on the inside and release them into the air. I had always been fascinated by words and writing, and through them I began to develop a voice that eventually became verbal, transforming me from a mouse into a lion. If I had read your piece during my years in which my lips had been sewn together, it would have been a tremendous help.
Your symbolic and metaphorical voice in this piece (yes, I could most definitely hear your voice) is brilliant. I found myself lost in your words, both in their beauty of how they fit together like transcendent puzzle pieces, and in attempting to figure out what the words you used mean to you. Your style is incredibly intriguing- you use a variety of intricate and simple sentences that when coupled with captivating imagery, creates your wonderful, unique writing voice (no pun intended) that I personally fell in love with. I feel as though I know you on a deeper level now just by having read what you wrote with such obvious passion and true belief in what you were saying.
Your comparison of a voice to a key really caught my attention because of how honest and accurate it is, and I sincerely loved that. Not to mention that the piece flows beautifully and seamlessly.
Because of how I used to search for my voice too, I found an instant connection with your writing. Nowadays, I advocate for what I believe in without hesitation. Sometimes my strong opinions get me into trouble, but better that than not having access to my voice.
I want to thank you for having written something so beautiful, so bold, so moving, and so honest.
Infinite Love and Gratitude,
Thank you so much for your comment Ziyana!
I cannot express to you how wonderful it is that you have said those things. I applaud you for finding your voice, as from what I have heard so far you are an incredible speaker. I hope you never lose your voice, because your voice is one of those that I like to refer to as an “old soul.” You truly have passion and eloquence.
I truly and passionately hope that voices never fade and that there are millions upon millions who like you are turning “from a mouse into a lion.”
In all honestly, I have no words for your comment. All I can say is this. Even when people finally find the courage to speak, sometimes they will tuck the key away again because those around them never made any acknowledgement. But you guys did. And that makes me incredibly happy.
So thank you.
Oh Sara. Strong, beautiful Sara.
I cannot begin to express the emotions that seem to be swirling within my heart at the moment, but all I can say is that…your voice…it’s…it’s…
Marvelous. Beautiful. Elegant. Strong. Confident.
You have such a gift Sara. I cannot even comprehend how blessed you are. No matter what happens, never lose this voice of yours. I have come to the conclusion that it gives you life. Your voice is so distinct and impactful, that it makes me feel as though I have never been able to define what it means to incorporate one’s voice within a piece, up until this moment in my life. Your symbolism behind “my small room,” and how people would “kick the chest a couple times in frustration,” before they “would close the door behind them,” made me realize how hollow we are toward the people around us. Your piece was the most accurate replication of life itself. You may think that you were simply expressing your own voice, but really, your words captured the echos of voices that were never heard. The voices that had failed their hostess. You are a savior in more ways than one.
Before I even read these blogs I promised myself that I would not cry, but your piece was just so moving, because it evoked pathos within your audience; within me. That link was strong, but most importantly, it was maintained throughout the entire piece, creating a unifying affect of sorts.
My tears had finally gave way when you wrote, “And so I searched alone,” as though life tests every single person as an individual, in which no one can come to your aid. In which you have to fend for yourself. I feel as though this adversity is what nurtures one’s voice, and enables it to tap into their emotions, which frantically seem to be running back and forth within the crevices of one’s heart, until they are grounded by a voice that defines them.
I wish you never had to “search alone” Sara. I wish I could have searched with you. But sometimes the voice of someone else drowns your own. But yours will never drown. I feel as though it will swim till the end of time itself.
With the love of a thousand hearts, and the support of a thousand arms,
I have nothing to say for your kind words. Literally. For once in my life (at least when talking to you) I am speechless. There are not enough words in the universe to convey how much this meant to me, especially coming from you. Just your language in your comment could be a separate piece all by itself! Even though I stress the importance of voice in an individual’s life, some things cannot be mentioned through the words you speak or through the sentences you string together, but rather it is a voice that echoes through emotions and feelings and gestures. So I hope you realize that my limited vocabulary in what I write just means that I’m expressing infinite worlds in my emotions and my actions.
Thank you. Really, seriously, thank you.
Hello Sara, I’m Nathalie Lanza from the International School of Panama and I’m in Mr. Avelar’s English 10 Honours class! I read your piece and I absolutely loved it. It is well-written! My question is, is there anything or anyone who inspired you to write this?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, it means a lot to me.
In all honesty, maybe there was someone or something who inspired me but on a subconscious level. The idea of having a voice is always one that has resonated with me, perhaps because lacking a voice in the past just makes me that much more determined to have one now. I believe that as individuals we were given a voice for a reason-that there was some purpose that we may not know of but it exists. In essence, a voice is one of the many precious gifts that we often misuse. And if anything, I think that’s where my inspiration came from.
Thank you so much again,
Hello, I’m Dalia Salama from the International School of Panama and I’m in Mr. Avelar’s English 10 Honours class. This personal belief of having a voice is very interesting and very magical. I agree with your belief because I think that having a voice is everything you need to make you someone in the world. Having a voice will allow you to share a little piece of you with the world and make society a tiny bit happier. Telling people that having a voice will make them a better person and also a happier one, will make everyone have more confidence and not fear society as much as everyone already does. I believe that everything you have or everything you get was destined to be on your path. So I really agree with you and I think that having a voice wont make you a horrible person and it only gives you the things that where already destined to be in your path. Were you ever denied the privilege of speaking and having a voice in your society?
Thank you so much for your comment and your insight!
I agree with you on the point that everything we have or get was predestined to be on our path, and that the act of having a voice is a precious one. Often times I would argue that we forget our voice and we adapt the voice of what society would expect us to have. Having a voice is more than just being able to speak, to write, to dance, to gesture. It means it’s specifically your voice. And you won’t let anyone take that away from you.
As for your question, I wouldn’t ever say I was denied the privilege of speaking, because fortunately I live in an amazing country. I would say however that I did lose my voice. When I was younger, I didn’t exactly have the “best” friends and they usually did the talking and I did the listening. Never talked at class, never talked at home, never talked anywhere. But as I grew older and went through some stuff, I realized that sometimes staying silent is the equivalent to being shrouded in darkness. And I wanted to see the light. It’s not easy, but I’ve found if you really want something nothing will stand in your way.
I hope that answers your question, and if it doesn’t, please feel free to pose the question a different way so I’ll be able to answer it properly.
Thank you again for reading and commenting,
This is truly inspiring. While reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about the times when I was scared to use my voice in order to express myself. When I was little, I would always stay quiet, afraid that I would always say something wrong. I was incredibly shy and the fact that this piece reminds me of that, means that you have talent. While reading the piece, it felt as if I was that little girl. As if I was the one kneeling on the floor, crying. Sarah, you are an amazing writer! Keep it up!
(International School of Panama – Mr. Avelar’s awesome 10th grade honours student)
Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot to me!
I hope you’re able to use your voice much more now then when you were little, because just by your writing it sounds like you’re a great individual. I hope this piece did not make you upset in anyway, as I know sometimes it can affect an individual in a certain way due to what they have or are going through.
Just like you, when I was younger I felt myself going through the same struggle, and I feel like I’m able to understand you better just through that piece of information.
My question for you is this, what helped you find your voice? In other words, how did that little girl finally stand up and know that she has a right to have a voice?
Thank you so much for reading,
Hello Sarah! My name is Sofia, I am from the International School of Panama and I’m in Mr. Avelar’s English 10 Honours class! I feel your point was straightly given and full of passion. Your word choice gave your essay a natural fluency that is really hard to obtain as a young writer. I would like to ask you Sarah, what was one specific example in your life in which you felt your voice was locked?
Your essay was awesome!
Comment by Sofia Cardenas
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me!
If I could name one specific example in my life where my voice was locked it would be situations where I had locked it up voluntarily. Either because I was too afraid or didn’t think I had anything important to say. For instance, when I was younger, I unfortunately wasn’t treated very well but to me that was normal. I thought that the suppression of my voice was normal and that’s just how things were supposed to be. So in that case, it was with the combined efforts of myself and those around me who closed the chest containing my voice.
Unfortunately I’m sure there are many cases in my life where my voice was locked away but I can’t recall any of them right now. I’m really sorry though.
Again, thank you so much for reading and commenting,
This is Alan from the International School of Panama, one of Mr. Avelar’s English 10 students. I am amazed by your both talent in writing and your insight that you gave me on this topic. I always hear people talking about people should have a voice and equality and blah, blah, blah! Then you come along with your incredible piece and I love how you connect everything. First you start off with the things you believe but then you actually only expand on voice, which really put emphasis on it but then when you connected voice to belief which just makes it even more bold. There is just one thing I would like know… What made you want to talk about having a voice in “This I believe” out of so many things you could have talked about?
Thank you so much for reading my post, it means a lot to me!
I love that you were able to see my though process behind my piece, often I think a writer’s main concern is how their piece will be interpreted.
That’s a really good question! I believe in a lot of things, as I mentioned in my post, but before I started writing this, I felt like I had nothing to write about. As if all my beliefs, everything that makes me who I am just suddenly vanished. And in the act of not knowing what to write, came the spark for the voice. Because in that moment, I was once again locking away my voice. I would once again talk about something that I had hoped would earn me good marks and that would be it. But when I started writing about having a voice, suddenly it became so much more then just an assignment. It became me showing a part of my soul to the world. It became another part of my identity and that’s why I think that the people who have read my piece often say it’s “raw.”
I hope that answers your question and I would also like to thank you for making me truly think about why I choose to write about this specific topic.
Thank you once again,
I know I said I couldn’t put what I felt about this piece into coherent speech but I’m going to try anyway because I want you to have something palpable to look at when I can’t be there to physically tell you this. I am so proud of you. I have never been prouder. I am deeply honored and incredibly humbled to just sit in the same English class as you, let alone be your friend. This piece is honestly a miracle. It’s a complete barring of soul and I swear I can hear your heartbeat pounding through it every time I read it. I only got the chance to read it last night and since then I’ve read it five more times. I adore every part of this work but your voice especially floors me. There is just something so raw and so passionate in it, and it makes my heart sing for lack of a better term.
I am just so proud. Knowing you in ninth grade and watching you become the sophisticated and confident young woman you are now has been a gift. Your growth is a testament to your strength as an individual and that strength never fails to inspire me. You may not be loud or obvious in it, but you have a quiet kind of endurance that makes you capable of handling almost anything, even if you don’t always think you can. This translates beautifully into your voice, giving it a steady sort of rhythm that drives not just this peace but almost all your writing forward.
In all honesty I can’t critique this piece. I really truly can’t. I’m sure there’s one or two grammar mistakes somewhere because no piece of writing is perfect but my eyes are too blurry from crying to see them. This piece lives and breathes in such a way that I would almost dare to say it’s your magnum opus. And that is contending it against every other beautiful piece you have written.
Other then that I don’t really know what to say Sara. I think you are a genius and an inspiration and that I’m very lucky to breathe the same air as you. You are such a gift and I’m so glad you and your beautiful voice are in my life. And I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I saw, no matter how long it’s taken you to find your voice, it has been worth the wait a million times over. So thank you for looking and thank you for sharing. I am a better person because of it and of you.
All my love,
First off, thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to understand how great you are, and how important you are in the story of my life.
Your language in your comment is beautiful. I love it. I love your ability to turn even the simplest of sentences into a sentence of inspiration. You are an inspiration to me. Really, truly, you’re the best writer I have ever met and the best writer I will ever know.
I really can’t say anything else. But I hope you know how much I appreciate what you’ve said. How much it means to me that you said what you did. And I’m sorry for making you cry. That was not intentional at all.
And, finally, thank you for helping me unlock my voice. I would not be where I am today, writing what I am right now, had you not become my friend all those years ago and put up with my silence and at the same time taught me it was okay to speak, even if you were wrong. You were the first real friend I’d ever had (as weird as that sounds.)
So thank you. Thank you so much.
I absolutely love this piece by you. When I was reading it, I kind of read in the style of spoken word poetry, even though it probably wasn’t meant to be read like that. But it was such a powerful piece and resonated with me that it made sense for me to read in that way. It’s like the piece was yelling out to me. It was full of life. You are a fantastic writer, and I’m a fan! Keep it coming.