Humbly Loud

by Leontyne Evans (She/Her), Volunteer + Faculty Manager
Since I was a child, being loud has always been seen as negative. Especially, as a Black woman. I was taught being loud was synonymous with being uneducated and unattractive. Being loud and proud meant being attention seeking and desperate. Even when I would sing, which I love to do, I was often told “be quiet, you’re too loud”. It was mind boggling to me because sometimes my passion would take over, and my voice would become elevated signaling that the song I was singing was more than words to me. It became such an insecurity for me, I became so quiet no one could hear me. When someone would ask me to speak in front of a crowd or sing a solo, I physically couldn’t convince my brain to allow me to be loud. The world crippled me.

So, I had these talents and gifts that no one knew about because I had literally and figuratively lost my voice. Being told I was too loud, overly confident, or “doing too much” combined with years of abuse and manipulation led me to believe my voice wasn’t valid. I truly believed the things I had to say had no significance, my talents were something I should keep to myself, and my successes or achievements had no meaning. Listening to the world had me “moving in silence”. I was merely a shadow of a person going through the motions. However, one day someone seen me. They saw me as a whole person and beckoned me out of the shadows. They saw something in me that I couldn’t even see in myself. They helped me to see my value again.

As I found my voice and learned my worth, I got louder. I started to speak even if I wasn’t asked. I wanted to be heard even if no one wanted to listen. What I once thought would make me seem attention seeking and desperate for validation, was now the very thing giving me strength. You see, I discovered my words have power. My contributions to this world are noteworthy, and my intelligence and experiences are worth sharing. I discovered that I matter, and I want to be loud about it! Now, that I found my voice I will never be quiet again.

My mentor once said “no one makes it to higher levels by being quiet. How would anyone know how to utilize your skills if they don’t know they exist? How can someone hire you for a job they don’t know you can do? How can someone learn from you if they can’t hear you? Being quiet could cause you to miss out on opportunities that were created specifically for you. There is someone who needs what you have, and they can’t get it because you’re keeping your gifts to yourself. We owe it to this world to be loud!”

So, the next time you hear someone being loud about the things they are passionate about, celebrating their achievements publicly, or even bragging on themselves, remember, you don’t know everyone’s story. What you may see as being annoying, cocky, or distasteful may simply be someone who has rediscovered their voice and is choosing to be humbly loud.
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