Monday Notes: Self-Expression and Personal Power

I was raised as an only child in a family of older relatives. In addition to my parents, there were two grandmothers, one grandfather, three great-grandparents, and three great aunts. Most of my cousins were actually my mothers’ cousins; meaning, they were each around my parents’ age. That’s a lot of older people who believed that “children should be seen and not heard.”

In case you cannot tell, I always have something to say about almost everything. This is not a new development.

So, what happens when a child, who has a lot to say, is raised in a family where she cannot express herself? What happens when a child is raised in a family where she is slapped in the mouth for saying something “out of line?” What happens when a child is raised in a family where she is told to “shut up?”

Well, I don’t know about others, but as soon as I was of age, I said what I wanted in the unhealthiest of ways. I was extremely sarcastic because I didn’t know how to safely communicate my emotions. I used to run around telling people to “shut the f*ck” up” when I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I’d berate people’s ideas by asking them if they were “stupid,” something my grandmother frequently used to ask me.

But when I began this blog, I did it with the purpose of being able to express myself differently—in healthy ways that I value.

I promised myself that what someone else had to say about how I’m communicating my thoughts would not matter. There’s no way I can write about the topics I do (i.e., abortion rights, imposter syndrome, etc.) while thinking about how others who may have been involved are going to interpret a narrative from thirty years ago.

Initially, this worked because I wrote about issues centered on people who are deceased (e.g., my mother) or jobs where I’m no longer employed.

However, I quickly learned it is impossible (for me) to maintain a blog and only talk about dead or distant relatives and jobs from years ago. Life happens, and because I’m living it with others, I may have something to say about a conversation from yesterday or an experience I had last week.

But recently, it seems my blog has made people uncomfortable. One person said, “Don’t put this on the blog,” before engaging in conversation, and another re-quoted words from something I’d written to “prove” I was exhibiting hypocrisy.

And you know what happened? With the former request, it felt like the person was trying to control what I write…on my blog. With the latter, it seemed as if my words were being used against me. Neither of these felt good, especially because I’ve struggled to have a healthy voice in the world for so long.

I had to reflect for a minute. What you’re reading is the result. I had to remind myself of a few things:

  1. I’m not a child or teenager. This reminder is not in an immature, I’m grown; I do what I want South Park kind of way. It’s literally a way to ground myself in the here and now to say, “KG, you’re an adult and you’ve learned how to communicate in healthy ways, so do that girl!” I had to give myself a pep talk.
  2. My power is in communicating. Subsequently, no one can take it away. I can give my power away. I can acquiesce to the needs and wants of others, consequently yielding power, but no one can take it from me.
  3. My “why” on this blog is always to inspire. As long as I sense I am affirming readers’ experiences or inspiring you to do or think about something in a new way, then I will continue…in my own way.

Sending love, light, and the ability to garner your personal power to anyone reading this.



100 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Self-Expression and Personal Power

  1. Learning self-expression at a young age matters a lot. One of my sister’s and I have struggled with that since childhood because our parents barely talked or listened to us. And they don’t understand how weird it is when they ask us to be more expressive now and we don’t know how to do that. It’s so crazy because our youngest sibling is the opposite. She got all the attention and she’s the most expressive in the family.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I see a lot of myself in this post. I was raised to be silent and obedient. My father detest the way I would quickly jump into topics that he thought were not fitting for a child. My mom straight slapped me for speaking out of bounds.
    For years I would just curse people out if I sense a bit of control or belittling. Until…I started to read more and finally I started to write. Those too things have shown me how much I love and respect the gift of communicating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry to hear this Tavia. I totally understand cussing people out…it’s liberating in so many ways, right? I’m glad, though, you learned like I did that it’s an unhealthy way to speak to people. I still use curse words, but I definitely haven’t cussed anyone out in a while.

      So glad you’ve learned how to use your voice in positive ways ❤

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing!!.. I see nothing wrong with your blog, it is your world and if one does not like it, they can move on… just keep your heart doing the talking, you won’t go wrong.. “Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality.” (Shannon L. Alder)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I believe it’s always okay to state your opinion or tell your story, as long as you do it with respect to others. I’ve never read a post of yours that made me go “Oopsy, she missed the mark there”.

    I’ve had people try to use my blog posts against me. But we’ve got to be bigger than that. I never enclose names or personal details of people and I try to not get too emotional when I write about things that have happened that involved others. It’s a way of expressing yourself, and again: if you do that respectfully, I don’t see the harm.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for reading and leaving this comment Samantha! I’m glad what I’ve written resonates much of the time. Here, I do try to be as respectful and discreet (to the living) as possible lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. KE, I am glad you write the content you do on your blog. And, appreciate what you have shared today. Finding and harnessing the power of our voice is often a journey. I am glad you will keep using yours in the way you are. 💗

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Cheers to personal power and truth telling. We’re here to write our own stories and no one else’s. That said, not everything is for everybody and they are free to keep scrolling. I just wonder though why folks would expect you to agree with their censorship and change your stories. That’s funny to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you ❤

      People are funny, in general, I've found (including myself). I think that some of us think we have more control over people's behavior and actions than we really do. I've said this before and I'll continue to…the only person I can change is me. I wish this were a mandatory lesson in raising children and teaching students 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you ❤

      Tell it, girl. Even if it's just in a diary or something. People will rarely agree with your version, and that's okay. Only you know what your experiences were during whatever time period.

      Like

  7. I enjoyed reading you’re honesty here, the reason I only follow middle aged women with something to say btw! Kathryn NO one has the right to tell you ‘what you should and should not write’ on your blog (baffles me why people do this?) Constructive argument, discourse also debate is brilliant, but censorship NO!………….over the months we’ve disagreed on a point of view, but I liked when you wrote (paraphrasing from memory) ‘always enjoy our intelligent convo’.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Andrew! I’m glad you’re back!!!

      With that said, I do agree. And yes, lol, you have said some “crazy” things on my and your blog, but because I believe wholeheartedly in freedom of expression, I’m good with it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re right, it’s your blog and your voice and no one can take that away from you without your permission. I’m glad you’re not giving that permission! I’m sorry that you weren’t allowed to express your true self as a child, but so very glad you figured out a way to do it as you grew older. And honestly, I don’t follow or read blogs that are poorly written, or where the writer is simply using the blog as a way to rant about things they don’t like or attack people they don’t like. You are honest, but I have never seen you be anything but respectful to your readers, even those who disagree with you. And your honesty is a gift to the rest of us, because we can usually relate to what you’re writing about. All of which is my long-winded way of saying: you keep right on doing you!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. lol Thank you Ann!

      I do want to reiterate what you’ve said about ranting. One of my rules for blogging is to never use it like a diary (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I don’t see it as a productive way to be helpful, you know? I think, too, sometimes people don’t know there’s a difference. Diary = rant. Blog = thoughtful opinion

      Thank you again for these comments ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Your blog, your rules. I don’t get people. If they feel a certain way about a certain topic, shouldn’t they stand by their words and have them published? You and have disagreed about topics in the past, but both of us have remained respectful about our positions. That’s what discourse – and more importantly – friendship is all about. Keep on being you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I totally agree Rob. It’s just funny how a couple comments can take you back to a place and have you second-guessing yourself :-/

      And yes about disagreeing! I’m all about discourse, no matter who it is, as long as we are both listening and respectful as possible.

      Thanks for the encouragement ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder when some people stopped learning and expanding their horizons. Life should be a never ending trajectory of new ideas and understanding. And it’s my pleasure! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Once again, your words give me goosebumps. Goosebumps! From “I always have something to say about almost everything. This is not a new development.” To how you suppressed and projected your words in unhealthy ways (I can relate) to the freedom of expression that your blog brought about. The key being — writing from your vantage point with a full heart and an open mind <- this is the power of your writing Dr. G. You. Invite. Us. In. .. to the full circle experience of bullies telling to shut the F*&K UP on your OWN BLOG. Which could otherwise be a transcription from your soul. Thank you 🙏 I silence myself all. The. TIME. .. And this post reminds me of how unfair that is to the people that need to hear what my soul has to say. The people that are ready to listen. With an full heart and an open mind. 👯‍♂️♥️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dr. D, you always listen with an open heart, which is why I can tell you get me. You hear exactly what I’m saying because you read between those lines. Thank you for this. It is a full-circle, closure type moment, where I felt tested for a minute. A test like “have you really learned how to express yourself??? Let’s see…” lol

      Thank you also for getting that I was about to “silence myself,” but that’s what happens right. We learn these patterns in childhood, and then grow up and do them to ourselves; it’s automatic 😉 Growth is in learning and doing better, right?

      Thanks for SEEING me 😉 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Excellent post. I know what you mean about the older generation wanting children seen and not heard. I had that experience as well. So glad you had the chance to renew your communication style so that you can express yourself and feel heard. I feel fortunate to have been able to do that as well. I think instead of talking to people who weren’t listening, I began to write instead.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. You are so courageous to write about present-day interactions and even about distant-past jobs and deceased people. I read your work and I try to gather the nerve to put my true views out there like you do. I wanted to ask about one part of this post – when someone asks you “don’t blog about this conversation,” how do you decide when maybe it would violate their privacy (and then not blog about it) versus your right to express yourself? My biggest worry is about angering people by exposing interactions or stories they felt were private.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. First, thank you Fran. I always appreciate your thoughtful comment ❤

      To answer your question, only one person has explicitly and implicitly said that. In general, I try to only blog about the facts of a situation (e.g., I was raised in a family of older relatives). No one can argue with that and it's not too salacious to say…I don't think lol Then, I offer how this made me feel or what I think about it and how I've grown.

      So, if we take the person who said, "don't put this on the blog," I still haven't said WHAT the person actually said after that, so I've not violated their ask, actually. And I still wrote my opinion around this comment. I think that's the part that is a fine line between just blogging all of the things that may ruffle people's feathers if they know they were the person in question.

      You can also remove names and specific details. Like if someone knows your sister has red hair and a mustang, then maybe don't add that in there.

      I also have a wider view of the world. For example, I know that my family and friends are a very small subset of the billions of people who live on this earth. And if they want to talk about something from the blog, I'm open…as long as they're not trying to use my words against me, like the person described above.

      Even after all of that, I have noticed that no matter what, if you're not saying something "positive" about someone, then they usually feel a way about it no matter how you're presenting it. When that's the case, I lean on Anne Lamott, who said, "If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better" 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for all of this insight. I’ve been thinking (in a less advanced way than you are) about the idea of, as you put it, only writing about “the facts of a situation.” The way I’ve been thinking of it is, if I stick to ONLY describing things *I* actually experienced, and then describe my interpretation with some humility, then I don’t need to second-guess myself. That’s how I’ve done it when I’ve written about fitness/strength training stuff, about which lots of trainers (mostly male but not always) like to nitpick and split hairs and make you feel you’re incorrect. (I’m a trainer but I confine my nitpicking to only my inner voice, LOL)
        When I work on my memoir and I want to describe fraught personal interactions, I try to describe other people’s actions and words without any “labels.” I can describe what was said or done, the person’s body language and expression; but I feel I shouldn’t label them mean or lazy or damaged or codependent or insecure, for example, because then I am diagnosing and judging rather than just reporting what happened (and also mind-reading). Then when I go on to describe my own reaction I can describe emotion and thought. I hope that way of doing it maintains the dignity of others and generates empathy for all the characters. So far, this is my clearest way of thinking about writing about interactions. Still, I have put very little of that on my blog or elsewhere, instead only sharing it with “safe” present-day friends.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. This is not a new development. No one can stop you … say what you want here and everywhere 💫 People can unsubscribe from your blog or your life if it’s not working for them. Next level is no longer even noticing or having those people in your orbit … that’s what I think more and more – like how are my thoughts allowing this person to take up so much of my energy? And I work from there and try to find a better way to feel which funnily enough ends up making what was bugging me a non-issue. My take on the words of Abraham.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is why you’re my sister from another mister 😉

      I hear you. It’s all about alignment, right? On a related note, I think vibing higher also requires getting rid of (or learning to get rid of) all the muck that’s still hanging around. That’s one way to only have those on the same frequency with you.

      Thanks for these reminders ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad to have found you in this corner of the universe xx Yes, totally … gotta shed the stuff that you recognise does not serve you. I totally see our convos in the early years (when I was in THAT relationship) in a new light … you have been such a big part of my journey 💛

        Liked by 2 people

  14. I truly appreciate you writing openly and honestly about your family experiences. I am very inspired by that. I come from a family where they heard me but nothing ever translated really to anyone. It seems my views didn’t fit very well in their version of life. So I never felt understood and I kept talking on and on, often non-stop, without boundaries. Nobody said Shut Up and nobody really responded or supported. It was very confusing. My blog became my sacred ground for authentic expression. I never liked the idea of secrecy or anonymity, so it is well known and read by quite a few family and friends. I do know that though I write quite vulnerably, I keep it about myself or Universal/spiritual. I am very much guarded about bringing out real life experiences. I take it as my growth and evolution to break those barriers slowly and steadily.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pragalbha, unfortunately, I understand this, too. I recently decided to stop trying to explain what I mean over and over while people just kinda act like they either didn’t hear me, or really don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s too frustrating.

      I hope you CAN break whatever barriers you desire. It’s important we face all of our “challenges,” for our own personal evolution 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I felt deeply touched at reading that you actually understand what I am saying. It is a luxury as if 🙂

        Yes, I know I am moving forward. It is new continually, I hope I do too. Thank you.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I wrote about this once. You just reminded me. My quote was this:

    “Your discomfort does not inhibit my creativity.”

    (There are variations of this quote, we can adjust and change at will.)

    Oh, now you got me on a thinking path…

    To the person who makes suggestions as to what you should or should not write: feel free to read elsewhere.

    Unrelated: I have news to share with you but I’m not quite ready. I will hopefully be able to count on some collaboration from you. Stay tuned… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There it is! That quote is perfect for what I’m trying to say. The two have nothing to do with one another…nothing at all!

      And oooohhhh! Are we gonna read tarot together? Just kidding. I know it probably has nothing to do with tarot lol but I am very excited to hear what the idea is.

      Thank you so much for adding this

      Like

  16. Bravo for knowing yourself and being your own best advocate. That’s all that matters. In fact, if we could all have that kind of courage to look inward rather than outward, it would be a much happier, kinder world. BRAVO!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly the sentiment here. The only person I truly change is myself, so that’s what I mostly work toward 😉

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Like

  17. You know that gif of Meryl Streep where she is clapping and being all like YEAH? That is me right now. If we don’t truly express ourselves or read something that upsets the apple cart, then we are all reading or writing the same old, boringly safe story about unicorns farting rainbows.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Someone once told me to be anonymous on my blog so I could express myself…. I choose not to be anonymous and share my name (it’s my real name) because it forces me to maintain a level of professionalism. Something a prof told me greatly influenced this decision. She said that we need to be careful not to let our personal lives bleed into our careers, especially when it comes to social media. The voice I use here is the same voice I use in the workplace. However, blogging gives me the ability to express myself in ways that I cannot offline. I know that my mother and my aunt read my blog but it’s not going to stop me from blogging. If they don’t like what I have to say, then they don’t have to read it.

    I can relate to being seen and not heard. I too am an only child and all of my cousins are [much] older than me. My parents had me when they were in their mid 30’s. To this day, I am not close to my cousins and get flack by my grandparents for not reaching out to them, even though these cousins don’t reach out to me at all. Older adults seem to have this constant need to be right. Every time I visit family, I remember why I moved across the country.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hilary, you sound like my doppelganger ❤

      I began this blog at a time when I'd decided to be my most authentic self, so I get what you've said here. At the time, I had five billion different personas, and it was exhausting. Blogging was kind of like a coming-out party for me.

      I'm so glad you understand what I've said here. It means quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow, Katherin, it made me sad to read how your voice was squashed as a child – and the audacity of being told your own personal blog made someone “uncomfortable.” Good God! How can anyone be so presumptuous?
    Of course, everything you went through shaped you into who you are today. Your voice is a gift and I love that you are sharing your past trials and tribulations. It is truly inspiring. We have a lot in common in regards to suppression of our voice. I celebrate our blogs and freedom of expression!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wellll, let me clarify. No said “it makes me uncomfortable.” I interpreted their comments that way lol But I do think if someone says, “Don’t put this on the blog,” then there has to be discomfort somewhere.

      Thank you for this comment, though, Judy! I appreciate you always reading and giving more insight. I’m sorry your voice was also suppressed, but it does seem like we’ve both reclaimed it through art 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. A blog is a platform to express our opinions and express ourselves….that is for sure. However, we all know this is the internet..aka where everyone has an opinion. Once you publicly share something on the internet, it is that for the most part ‘public.’ However, it is up to us the authors or owners of our blogs in how we wish to respond or accept these comments. For the most part, I personally welcome feedback or comments, even if they are negative as long as they do it respectfully. I will not needlessly and childishly go back and fourth with someone on my blog if all we are doing is attacking each other or acting disrespectfully. I respect people’s different of opinions (of course it sometimes depends on the subject matter: IE there is nothing attractive about hate speech etc) and I especially welcome difference of opinion if they are educated, well thought out etc…because I feel humans can learn from one another. There is just a way to go about it. One should not be using your words against you. Say what you feel, always. Honesty is always the best policy I say, and people will either love you or hate you for it. I figure if they hate you for it, it is probably their problem, not ours. lol. Keep doing you!

    Btw…I was raised the opposite. I could always express myself growing up at home, not that my family had other problems or challenges, but because I could always freely express myself I had to get use to the rest of the world may not always feel the same. However like I said above, as long as I am being respectful in my self expression or opinions, I am not going to change. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I completely agree with what you’ve said here. I (almost) never go back-and-forth with people on a social media platform, whether it’s on the blog or somewhere else lol It’s like a waste of time.

      It’s interesting you were raised to freely speak…I’m guessing you’re probably at least a decade or so younger than I am. I only say that because my husband and I raised our daughters similarly. They can always say what they want, as long as it’s respectful.

      Thanks for reading and commenting ❤

      Like

  21. I can understand your experience of having older relatives. My mother was 40 when she gave birth to me. My cousins were all in their 30s by the time I came along. I was lucky to have two younger siblings. As far as criticism of your blog, I think you should be free to write what you want. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Read what the critics have to say. Then let it fade away if there is no merit in what they have to say. You go ahead and do you.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Such a valid post. I can relate. I believe I recently mentioned how children are seen and not heard or risk a back hand across the mouth. Ultimately the reason I began writing, the only way I knew to express myself. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. EXACTLY! This is why a lot of what you write resonates with me, too. Specific generations didn’t want to hear your thoughts and emotions, so we had to teach ourselves how to think and feel in new ways ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening
    when you’d preferred to talk.”- Doug Larson

    I understand your post perfectly, but older relatives back-in-the-day
    believed that a child should stay in their place and talk when they were asked something and when they had something important to say with permission, but in this day in time children are acting out, but in your case being controlled positive by your relatives no doubt played a major part in your achieving the highest educational goal (Ph.D)!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree with that quote van Prince. I’ve often thought about who I would be if I were allowed to speak freely…probably not quite the same type of writer, I suppose.

      I for sure accredit my attaining a doctorate to my mother; however, degrees and accolades are not always as important as being able to be who you are…freely 😉

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting…you know I value your words when you stop by 😉

      Like

      1. There are usually two sides to every story, the one telling the story who know personal reasons why and the reader trying to basely figure out way, and all in all things completed well between us on such a priceless essay post!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Right..Blog is a platform to air independent views and thoughts. There are a variety of people in the world. Each having his or her own beliefs and experience . Each one thinks he or she is right . That will go on, so why worry, let them have opinions.
    Stay blessed always.
    🙏🌹🙏

    Liked by 6 people

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