As a woman of color, I find It is often easier to make my way in the world by keeping my mouth shut. To simply grin and bare it when haters, well meaning friends or co-workers say or do something incorrect or insensitive. As a child, my father would say to me, “Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt” So I learned to keep my mouth shut, to be seen, and selectively heard.
My status as “other” does not always grant the luxury to say what is truly there for me, to correct a slight or present an alternative point of view. I have to be vigilantly self aware, and know the right time to speak up or how to frame my words so that they can be received in the best possible light. Sharing my uncensored opinion can quickly get me labeled as being “too big in a room” or worse an “angry black woman”. When that happens, full stop. My opinion is dismissed outright. Somewhere along the way, I’ve even stopped correcting people who mispronounce my name. It’s Thee-duh if you are interested.
It can be frustrating to constantly edit myself for the sake of others but thank goodness I have my art as a vehicle for my voice to be heard, long after I’m gone. This body of work is a collection of one sided conversations. The things I wish I said or could say, the things I say under my breath or the affirmations I use to remind myself that my voice is relevant even when no one is listening.
Thanks to Big Mouth… look who has the last word now.