Why We Must Unsilence Our Voices

I believe stories change the world, because stories have the ability to have a major impact on their readers.

Reading about experiences outside of yourself creates empathy and understanding for situations you were not familiar with before.

Reading about your own lived experience makes you feel seen and understood. This in turn helps you gain the confidence to live your life to your own personal truths.

Being part of marginalized groups means I have been told my personal story doesn’t have a place in this world.

I never read stories about fat girls – not positive ones anyway.

I never read stories about ill women – not happy ones anyway.

I never read stories about bi women – not unless they were ‘confused’ anyway.

Receiving this message from the world – the world of books, which I loved so much – makes you doubt yourself. It makes you doubt your identity, even if you are not aware of it. It makes you doubt your value as a human being.

And thus I struggled for a long time to see my value. I’m getting there, but acknowledging the lack of representation of so many of us, has taught me how vital it is for a human being to see their personal experience portrayed in art. It makes you feel seen, heard and valued as a human being.

And so these types of stories are what I focus on as a book coach: stories from people belonging to groups in our society who have not been heard often in art. Who have not seen their experience on TV and have not read them in books.

Much is changing, but change comes with setbacks. There is major backlash from people who feel their place is being taken from them to be replaced by others, by us, instead of seeing us as a vital addition of new voices to society.

This means that showing up for ourselves and our voices isn’t easy.

You will have to access a vulnerable place within yourself to tell the story you want to tell. Whether it is about your own experience or a different story, showing up as you are in a world who in the past has shunned you, even bullied or threatened you, takes courage.

I hope to provide a safe space for people like myself and so many others like me who feel vulnerable in writing their stories. Because I know the experience. Our lives may not be the same, but I know the feeling of feeling unseen, of being unheard and of not belonging in society, or in art.

Let me tell you: we need your story, and you need to tell your story. Be scared to do so, but be brave by doing it anyway.

Because stories change the world – and you.

Your story matters. Your voice matters.

Sharing both is important, to yourself and to the world we live in.

Take care of yourself, my friend.

x Sandra

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