Sometimes putting words out into the air for others to hear is absolutely frightening.
But most times it’s completely worth it.
I sort of talk quite a bit, but I haven’t always said what needs to be said in the moments those things need to be said. I used to bite my tongue and swallow my words out of fear that what I really felt would become known—and for some reason, that would be a bad thing. This was especially true with guys because the last thing I ever wanted was for a guy I had a crush on to know about that crush. There were a variety of reasons for that, but it really all boiled down to being afraid.
And so silence was my answer.
There was a song I remember from Avril Lavigne’s album that I listened to on repeat in high school called “Things I’ll Never Say.” I always felt the lyrics were pretty accurate to many of my situations. Homegirl sings, “What’s wrong with my tongue? These words keep slipping away. I stutter, I stumble, like I’ve got nothing to say,” and then the end of the chorus says, “Guess I’m wishing my life away with these things I’ll never say.”
But I don’t want to wish my life away.
I can think of so many times when I had opportunities to speak up, and I didn’t. I let those chances slip through my fingers—chances to share my heart and find out if the other person felt the same or not. But, instead, I never knew.
And I think not knowing is so much worse than taking a risk that might end in heartache.
I’ve really only done this heartache-risk thing twice in my life. A little more than a few years ago, there was a guy I didn’t think I was interested in at first. (Or, I at least told myself I wasn’t interested in him.) But when he started showing interest in me in an obvious way, I couldn’t really fight my feelings anymore. Neither of us had actually said anything to one another, though, and I wasn’t sure I could do that. I tend to be a pansy in that regard.
For some reason or another, I decided I was just going to tell him exactly how I felt. And so I did. It was probably one of the scariest moments of my life, but the words just started pouring out, and I couldn’t stop them. He said a few things, too, and then he kissed me. It sounds like a good situation—until he led me on for about 10 months and then broke my heart.
The second heartache-risk thing was when I asked a guy out (in person) and had to stand there face to face and get hurt. That one was definitely worse.
Even though both situations ended up involving pain and unwanted outcomes, I don’t regret either. I don’t want to be the girl in the Avril Lavigne song anymore, because I think sometimes not saying what you want to say can wind up being the biggest regret of all. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Rejection? Take it from someone who has felt that a number of times in life: It’s not as bad as always wondering and never knowing.
I’m sure there are times when it’s more appropriate to hold your tongue—like if you’re thinking something not so nice that really isn’t necessary to say. But when it comes to matters of the heart, as my sister always reminds me, “What do you have to lose?”
And the answer can’t be “dignity” because I think it actually takes more dignity to do something you’re beyond terrified to do than to be too scared or prideful and say nothing. I’m going to have to quote Hilary Duff again: “If you lose a moment, you might lose a lot. So, why not?” You might end up with a broken heart, or you might end up with everything you imagined and more.
Either way, it’s worth the risk to leave your own Wonderland.