The first time I heard someone tell me, “Joy is your birthright,” I cried. I couldn’t tell you if they were happy tears or tears of frustration…but, perhaps reflecting on it, maybe it was tears of relief. We all have different experiences and upbringing, but damn, sometimes life is hard. The triumphs, the tribulations, the multiple knockdowns before you stand back up again. I get it. Sometimes you have to go through all that stuff to find your purpose, which will ultimately bring you joy.
When I worked in corporate, I worked in a boys club. Where women’s voices were spoken over. I was in a meeting, had an idea, said it outloud….and then my boss who was sitting next to me repeated my idea, just louder…and he was praised for it. That made me SOOOO angry. I even told him, “hey! I just said that!” And he just smirked at me. The nerve. BUT, he was taught his whole life that these actions were OK. That women would be submissive, and he didn’t lose one wink of sleep from stealing his subordinate’s idea. Of course, I was filled with anguish. This continued for several months, even years…until finally, it boiled inside of me for too long, that I spoke up loud and clear in almost every meeting thereafter. I then became known as the girl who was loud, an influencer (not in a good way), not smart, not a forward thinker, I was just, LOUD.
After I realized what was happening, I decided that I will never let someone else take my voice. I learned how to speak with both empathy and authority. However, this took a lot of my time and energy, and I forgot what it was like to feel joy. I was constantly fighting an uphill battle. I realized there were several women in my department that also weren’t being listened to, some silenced. That broke my heart.
At the studio, we value our voice. Each student uses their voice in class. At first, it’s scary, but, once you get used to it, it becomes second nature, helping you build confidence. Not only within our purple walls, but outside them too. We witness each other’s stories. We share, and we love. We remember that yes, joy is our birthright. Don’t forget that like I once did. You deserve to be joyful. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Reflect, be grateful, know your worth, and you’ll start back down the path to joy.