Having an 'Uh Huh' Moment

“...and that’s why I love Justin Bieber like he’s so cute.”

“Yea me too you know he’s dating…”

Common chatter among my school friends and I. We always gossiped about how much we loved Justin Bieber and who he was with.

“I know right I can’t believe it, they’re cute together, I guess-”

He was coming out with songs like ‘Boyfriend’ that made us really want him to be our boyfriend. We frequently had these chats but usually they were not interrupted by someone saying,

“Destiny you talk so much.”

These were words I had heard billions of times but, when she said it, it hurt. She was my best friend, why would she say that?. Maybe she was right, maybe I was talking to much. At that time, her approval meant a lot to me. Everyone else, including me, thought she was so cool!  Honestly, I don’t know why we all thought that. No one stood up for me they just looked away or shrugged kind of agreeing. Having friends that did not stand up for me sucked. It’s like she sucked all the power out of their voices and they all just agreed with it. She was normal and nothing out of the ordinary she was just pretty, really pretty and bossy and once you have a few followers, it can be easy to feel “entitled” to be in charge.

I stopped talking as much. Talking seemed like the worst option for my eleven year old self. It all started well, it never really started in a specific place. I had always been talkative and someone who always made sure their opinions heard but, my peersothers started to care about what I said starting in the sixth grade. In my class, there was this girl who was a good friend of mine. We had never been in the same class before and she was so excited that we were this year. Usually, I’d answer a lot in class, participate a lot in group work and, make guesses even if I didn’t think it was right. From my teachers I would always hear,

“Destiny is such a great participant in class and always tries her best.”

“Destiny is pretty chatty in class but, always has input that is really helpful for us all.”

My classroom personality had been something that everyone had gotten used too and did not think it was annoying, for the most part. At home I was loud, bubbly and, full of “what happened at school” chatter. At school, after that incident I was quieter. I only answered questions sometimes even if I knew the answer. I stopped guessing if I didn’t feel one hundred percent about my answer. No one had really talked about me talking too much. But, me and my friend would hang out and she would say things like,

“Your voice is too high.”

At this point I was confused. I honestly did not  know what to do. How was I supposed to change my voice? Then on top of that everyone would always ask me,

“Destiny, why do you always talk so white?”

I never understood what this meant. Was it because I talked in a complete sentences? I usually shrugged it off and said,

“I don’t but, whatever.”

The argument did not seem worth it to me but, now I had to figure out a way to talk deeper, less and, not “white” to get my friends, family and, peers off my back about my voice.

After all those times being criticized about my voice, I just dealt with it. The mocking, the little jabs about how annoying it was or how I talked like someone who was not black. This made me incredibly insecure about my voice. When I met new people, I would think that my voice would be a factor in whether they liked me or not. Over time, I thought it was this huge deal breaker that made people not want to be my friend. But, something changed when I came to SLA.

“Oh yea your Mom is so nice.”

I said remembering when one of my friends mom gave me a ride.

“Yeah she’s like obsessed with you at the tournament she was like, ‘Oh, her voice is so nice’”

She responded laughing.

“Really, everyone has always told me that my voice is super annoying.”

I responded warily. No one had ever complimented my voice.

“Yea she think it’s cute!”

Now, I know it’s weird to get worked up about what people think about you but, it can be hard not to. When someone tells you something enough, you start to believe it. So, when she told me her Mom said that, my heart warmed and I started to believe, not only in myself, but in my voice. It had power and someone thought it was cute. Now, I could use all my new found confidence in my voice and not seem so wary about it. Everyone’s voice no matter how strange you think it is because they have knowledge and knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power but who really knows your knowledge unless you speak it. Keeping it all bottled up can be a detriment to others. They are not experiencing the joy that is you. Kind of like in the Little Rascals. The character ‘Uh Huh’ only ever said the words ‘uh huh’ in agreement. But, at the end it is powerful when he uses long extravagant descriptive words. “Actually, I've always had a rather extensive vocabulary, not to mention a phenomenal grasp of grammar and a superlative command of syntax. I simply chose not to employ them.” (The Little Rascals; 1994) Language is power. Sometimes your voice can be cut down or dismissed by others. I am no stranger to this feeling. If someone has told you your voice is too loud, too high-pitched, too annoying there is nothing you can do. Your voice will always too much of something for someone. When your voice is silenced you are weak, out of power, and no longer being yourself. Have yourself an ‘Uh huh’ moment and show people what you are made of and bring out your home self to the world. Choose to employ your words because someone will find them cute, funny or, interesting.

Comments (2)

Taytiana Velazquez-Rivera (Student 2018)
Taytiana Velazquez-Rivera

1)I learned that you had a difficult time knowing when and when not to speak; I went through the same 'Tati you talk to much'. 2) People don't know how smart you are unless you voice our opinion. 3)I loved the 'uh hu' reference!

Tajnia Hussain (Student 2018)
Tajnia Hussain

Hey Destiny! Overall I think you did an amazing job. I loved how you mentioned multiple examples and situations you had to go through which showed how you became stronger and believed in yourself and overcoming those obstacles.

I learned that when people say things to you, you don't take it to heart but when people close to you do it affects you negatively. But then you somehow get over it and be the better person and feel confident about yourself.

I learned that you should use your voice as power and have an uh huh moment to show others what you are made of.

Loved it!