Valiant Voices-Kimberly Lee
We’ve all had something that could potentially silence the sound of our soul. Even as you read this the corridors of your memory could be opened to a memory, a scent, a day or time that you’d rather not remember. Or perhaps you’re the vigilante that that has snatched their life’s vocal chords back from a traumatic experience. You could even be the doula that helps the injured survivor process the pain of circumstances in order to birth purpose.
No matter which you may be one thing is for sure, trauma on any level is just that; trauma. Trauma is a deeply distressing event that changes the trajectory of an existence that you deem as normal into a reality that can range in emotions from sullen numbness, trickery, deceit, rage and chaos on any given day. This doesn’t even include the time it takes to heal and eventually come to a place of wholeness. Trauma that people have experienced over time comes in all different shapes and sizes ranging from pay inequality, abuse of power, or the very current light that has been shed on sexual violence and sexual misconduct voiced by the powerful Tarana Burke and her #Metoo movement.
I’m no therapist but I know trauma because I’ve experienced it in my own life. As an ex-wife of a pastor, and mother infidelity and loss of my own identity ravaged my personal and family life a few years back. I won’t go deep into the story but so much kept me silent that I wasn’t even aware of the silence until I was physically out of the situation. One day I prayed a short but powerful prayer, “God get me out of here” when He answered the walls that constricted my voice began to open up to give birth healing as I became amicable to the scary possibility that I could actually be free. Over the year’s I’d not only experienced emotional abuse but physical abuse as well, in addition to yet another cataclysmic way of life, dumbing myself down and restricting my life’s voice to the command of what other’s thought my life should look like was a way of life I knew all too well. Dumbing oneself down yields a return of anxious perfectionism that puts your real life on mute all while having to wear a mask until you decide to say, “me too, I’m hurting too!”
We live in a society where much is said about things that can silence us but they can also deafen us to the real cries of our societal woes. As I sat and watched the 5:00 news the other day I was flabbergasted at a piece reporters were doing on the mortality rate of pregnant African-American women losing their lives in childbirth due to lack of preventable health care being offered because of the color of one’s skin. I couldn’t believe what I was watching, I was appalled at the fact that we are even having to even bring light to the topic that should not be happening and more than that the reason that it is happening! In the report, “Mother’s Matter”, the reporter went on to say the as she researched the topic with not only African-American women but other cultures too, one thing was clear, the voices of women of color or their counterparts are simply not being heard. This lets me know that there is a clear power dynamic that needs to be addressed not only in this situation but in all situations where power, fear and lack of identity are used to prevent others from advocating for their best lives. It is up to us to take our power back and understand our needs and wants and be our own best advocate. We need to realize we owe nothing to dysfunction and it is our privilege as well as our responsibility to speak up and create healthy boundaries for our own lives and communities.
So what can we do? Here lately so much is able to be said in our social-media driven society where everyone is an expert that I feel the sensitive subjects mentioned in this article have the chance of not being taken as seriously by society as they should be. I’ve seen it where people of influence shy away from the realness of sensitive topics like sexual abuse, racism, and political foolishness so then we by default forego the freedom of voice that brings about true witness and transformation to our society, our families and our own selves. I believe this happens for many reasons, as in my case, fear of change, lack of resources, shame, and the disdain I would experience from the powers that be. It takes courage to speak up and I believe sometimes in society we don’t have the courage to change or speak up so we make light of complex topics and use as a diversion such topics as “side-chicks” or the tom-foolery that keeps us distracted from truly rallying in political areas to see the changes we so desperately want and need. In my experience we do this as a society because it’s easier to move on to the next hot topic versus dealing with the hard, ugly truth that is necessary for deep, lasting healing. Truly hopeful, I believe there are being raised up even now some more courageous movements in society that are committed to uncovering truth and advocating for the necessity of healing. It will be these types of courageous pioneering movements of teaching and healing work that will leave a lasting mark on our society by way of doctrine and demonstration of truth. These teaching and healing movements are really what is needed to bring about powerful ongoing healing and restoration that are a gleaming light and the powerful truths that give people the courage and opportunity to take part in creating new normal.
So what is it that creates a new normal? For me, it was desperation, it was feeling like I couldn’t breathe in my current situation, the repeated loss of dignity and it was the taste of freedom and one single recurring thought that “I was more and there has to be more to life than this.” I’ve lost my voice and even given it up on several occasions. Then one day I came to the brink of my breakthrough, I’d had enough of being muzzled by life and people. After that one-liner prayer courage arose in me to find my own valiant voice, to heal and begin again. I think the hardest recovery of them all was the emotional abuse that stained my soul and broke my spirit to what felt like some days a point of no peace and no return. It was in this place that I couldn’t see because I was bent over in my mind wondering things like, “what did I do wrong and why wasn’t I good enough?” I went on like this for days, and months like many others, until I was thrown a life-line by way of an idea to share my story and teach what I needed to learn. I spent many hours researching my pain and my failures; intertwined with sharing my story little by little I began to experience weight lifting off of my life. I began going on social media everyday sharing my life lessons through what I called, “Lunchtime tip of the Day.” Lunchtime tip of Day to my surprise had an overwhelming response from others just like me fighting to gain their freedom and their God-given voice back.
In this moment I am reminded of all the courageous leaders like yourself who rebel against status quo ideals that are prevalent in society and on assignment to lull us to sleep and dull us to the point that we go along with the current trends of societal silence. So I ask the question again, what does it take to create new normal? Of course there is not enough time to go over an exhaustive list of answers here but I believe we can start with these-
Understanding what a valiant voice really is-A valiant voice is not always the loudest voice but a still small voice that says yes to self-worth, that says, “I am taking my dignity back because I am more than where I am right now.” A valiant voice finds the courage to choose shedding comfort zones to break cycles of bondage in order to experience new freedom in life. A valiant voice says, yes to the truth that they are God’s masterpiece and were created for good works. A valiant voice says I will heal and rid myself of being clothed with the embarrassment of shame for myself and my choices. A rebellious valiant voice understands they are not what they do and they are not their choices but they are believing-beings called to glorify God in the time they have here on earth. Lastly, a valiant declares, “I will be true to myself and my giftedness. I will live with the type of vulnerability it takes to become more and more whole on my journey, while learning to be a unique voice of service to others as well.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” ―
Uncovers the lesson-Any good coach studies losses as well as wins so uncovering lessons of traumatic life events or setback is imperative to being a being valiant voice. Making the same choices and expecting different results is simply defined as insanity. Uncovering a lesson is knowledge- a valiant voice takes it a step further and uses that knowledge in everyday decisions allowing it to become wisdom that brings about that new normal. Change and failure are unavoidable so we should make our best effort to fail forward because as the quote goes, “Change is the true result of all true learning.”
Amplify their unique sound-Sometimes we are afraid of the sound of our voice. Reason being, because we’ve been made to feel powerless in situations then in other times we are afraid of how magnificent the sound of our own voice is so we become uncomfortable not yet being used to what freedom sounds like. To amplify the sound of your life’s voice you must spend time developing as a person, spiritually, personally and professionally. It is our responsibility to know what gifts and talents lie with us and then cultivate those gifts and talents to live fulfilled lives all while serving some greater purpose. Each of us has a call, a purpose and once we begin to take destiny steps that foster our purpose our sound will get clearer and clearer. When our valiant voice begins to show up it is up to us to write the vision for our life and make it plain, set it on steps of faith and work to assure our goals come to pass. Amplifying your unique sound for your sphere of influence means not being afraid of what others think because you are committed to living authentically and to that I say, “Turn it up!”
Unity-No man is an island and when your life vision begins to turn outward where you are touching the masses you will need help, you will want help! Collaborating is key and very necessary when you are building anything of significance. As a matter of fact your gifts and talents can only go so far before you understand that you are not graced to do everything that your vision needs. To have a valiant voice you must be secure enough within yourself to know when and how to ask for help and humble enough to take the help! It has been said, “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” With that train of thought we must realize we can cover more ground as everyday leaders in excellence and efficiency together than we could if we were just trying to do it all alone. A valiant voice has a distinct sound and is a great self-starter but works well as part of a team going in the same direction. Unity is one very important component that produces results for dreamers that are willing to wake-up and work together. Remember a puzzle has many pieces but when put together correctly makes one work of art.
Trauma happens, setbacks happen; failure happens sometimes at the hand of others and sometimes by our uninformed decision making but what matters most is how we will respond. Will we ever remain voiceless victims in our own stories or decide to go within and receive the divine downloads that will lead us to liberty. Living in liberty is no easy feat, so I don’t mean to make it sound trite but it is a necessary faith-filled feat if we will change our own existence and hopefully in the process encourage one, empower one, bless one or all of the above. It’s up to us as individuals and tribes of people’s to understand what our valiant voice sounds like and uncover the lessons that lead to victory. It is our responsibility and right to live fulfilled by amplifying the sound of our life’s voice and working together in unity with those who are on a profound and powerful mission, just like us. Once you’ve found your voice, stand up and have your say, make your mission clear, make it matter and prayerfully it leaves an indelible mark of legacy that outlives you. Your voice matters.
Maya Angelou Quote
Mother’s Matter-King Five News, Seattle, Washington
About the Guest Blogger and Author:
Kimberly Lee is an ordained minister, professional speaker; coach by nature; author and facilitator of her signature program Empowered Living. Kimberly uses anyone of these functions to help you breakthrough tough mindsets and tough situations. She is fiercely committed to those who are ready to redeem painful experiences in order to pursue purpose and come into their own value, voice and life vision. She is the author of On the Brink of a Breakthrough and Bridge to Breakthrough expressly designed to help you shift from mindsets that undermine your potential while encouraging you to prosper holistically. You can catch Kimberly via Social Media or in person building people up mentally and spiritually by offering practical wisdom that helps people live an empowered lifestyle. She has impressive experience in breaking through hard places in life, inspiring others, soul-work techniques, project management and transformational speaking. She proudly holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Kimberly mentors and ministers as conference host of her ministry Wise Women Win. Her mantra, “You can live above anything that has tried to render you powerless by faith in God and faith in yourself.
Ms. Lee books are available for purchase on Amazon .
Thank you so much for being a guest blogger on Blessed & Curvy.