Speak Now (Or Forever Hold Your Peace)

Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize just how important it is to be honest to yourself and to others. It may sound like I’m merely stating the obvious, but my closest friends know just how hard I try not to hurt other people’s feelings — even going so far as to forget about my own — and how little I really do speak up when I feel injustice. Slowly but surely, however, I’ve vowed to make assertion and honesty a much bigger part of my life.

The idea has hit me from multiple directions in the last few days. On Tuesday, as I was getting my fix of The Office, I revisited the “Beach Games” episode, in which the sweet-but-often-stepped-on receptionist Pam Beesly (who often reminds me of myself) finally sticks up for herself. After feeling ignored, unappreciated, and taken advantage of by her boss and coworkers, Pam confesses her discontent to the rest of the office on their beach day. She doesn’t do this at all in a mean-spirited way, but she does stand her ground and states her relief of getting everything off her chest.

Pam wasn’t the only person set free by her honesty. For her upcoming album Speak Now, Taylor Swift has explained in interviews that “track by track, each song is a different confession to a different person.” What I learned from these latest articles was that the theme of coming clean to others was at the very core of Swift’s newest CD, and that she too found the experience of writing these songs cathartic.

While I still don’t think it’s classy to voice every opinion you’ve ever had and believe that it’s better to choose your battles wisely, I do think that when you keep your lips sealed shut, you’re hurting yourself and the people around you. If you’re not happy with certain aspects of your friendships or relationships, and you’re not speaking up about the things that matter, then how can you expect the situation to improve? If you see your friend doing something that isn’t in his/her best interest and you don’t want to hurt them by telling them, then how can you help your friend?

Takethe movie He’s Just Not That Into You as a prime example. Although Gigi the Protagonist has about ZERO chance of settling into a relationship with most of the guys she dates, her friends at work are constantly reassuring her that those guys will call, and then they make up excuses as to why nothing has happened thus far. Or look at the season premiere of Jersey Shore, in which Snooki tries to convince Sammi that Ronnie still has feelings for her, right as the camera cuts to Ronnie, piss drunk in a club, making out with two girls at once. (More on that show in another post!)

The lies we tell ourselves and others, even for the “right reasons,” can hurt us more than they help us. Tweet this!

Whether we’re harboring pent-up frustrations that we just aren’t letting out, or we’re trying to shield others from the truth, it’s important for us to be aware of what’s real and to try to open ourselves up to whatever that may be. It may hurt, yes, but it’s better than living in an illusion. Maybe each of us needs to practice affirmations, or maybe we just need some sort of outlet to express our innermost feelings candidly when we’re afraid of offending others. Maybe this blog is to me what Speak Now is to Taylor Swift — a way for me to convey, as Swift said in her interview, the “things that I wanted to say in the moment that I didn’t.” Hopefully, as time goes on, we can all start saying those things in real life. : )

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