How I Learned to Be More Expressive

Becoming more expressive was a whole process starting from being a closed off, introverted, quiet child.

Growing up

I was pretty closed off and quiet for a large part of my life because this is how I grew up.  When I was younger I was essentially raised by my mother and grandmother and they would always tell me to be quiet when grown folks are talking.  The problem was they were always talking!  Even when I would somehow find a way to get a word in edgewise, those words would be criticized or argued with or I’d flat out get told something like “don’t say that” or “stop talking back” or “be quiet”.  And also, they didn’t actively put me around other kids very much, so there wasn’t much expression there either.  There weren’t many kids in the neighborhood, and there was a very low level of trust with the few families who did have kids, so I was left quiet much of the time having to listen to a whole lotta adult talk about a whole lotta nothing.

I can remember my mother saying to me…”I’m not going to be ripping and running take you here and there to go play with other kids…you’re going to have to learn to be content alone”.  I’ve asked my mother about this, and she denies saying it to me, but I can remember the moment clearly because it was when I reached a level of acceptance.  I remember that sinking feeling in me when she said it.  At that moment, I internally accepted the fact that as long as I lived with this woman, there wasn’t going to be many kids to play with, and I probably get in trouble if I kept asking about it.  I felt pretty powerless to do anything about it at that point, so…I got really good at video games, reading, writing, listening, playing piano, typing, eating junk food>>>introverted things that didn’t require me to speak up or express myself.  I can actually remember being told to speak up so many times as a kid and as a teenager by other people outside of my family.

I say this not to illicit any type of sorrow or sadness or sympathy or anger.  I just want to highlight where this closed off attitude came from.  I never looked at it as closed off.  I looked at the situation as an ability to be content with myself, but as I grew older, I was overwhelmed with evidence that this line of thinking had a ceiling.  Being alone could only take me so far.

My mother’s behavior and grandmothers behavior didn’t come from thin air.  It came from how they were raised, and it’s a pathology that was passed down from generation to generation.  I also think this is where a dad would have helped.  Someone to counterbalance this and to validate the few things I would verbally express, but there was none.  I know for a fact from talking with him, his absence didn’t come out of thin air either.  Again, a pathology.

When Things Changed

Nothing really changed for me until I found the movie The Secret, which helped me with my emotions which then helped me get back in touch with and become roommates with a friend I initially met in high school who was the complete opposite.  He was very expressive in all ways.  He expressed his self through fashion, words, through actions etc.  A lot of his whole attitude of life rubbed off on me.

When we’d be in conversations with other people, he’d always encourage me to talk.  He’d say “what do you think?” and it usually went well.  So it made me feel like hey…maybe my opinion counted for something.

Then it moved to another level when I watched this video.  Especially when he mentioned Lil Wayne.  I’ve listened to Lil Wayne the rapper, and he always seems to blurt out what I deem as nonsense every now and then in his music.  BUT after watching that video I started speaking nonsense, and it actually worked and people responded well.

One thing I tried that blew my mind was walking up to people and just blurting out words that were on my mind and not sentences or complete thoughts like…fire, water, ice, house, sadness, move, etc.  One woman even told me “I don’t know what this is..but it’s turning me on!” lol.

Then it moved to another level when I went to CLW and met so many people that were more aligned with me.  I met so many of the “right” people.  They were interested in what I was interested in and focused on things I was focused on at the time – heart-centered work and making it sustainable.  It is when I realized I had to put forth the effort to seek out the people who were better fits for who I am.  If I didn’t, I’d have to settle with arguments, debates, excuses, defending my point of view, etc.  That takes a lot of energy that could be used more productively.

Express what’s on your mind.  Start small.  Sit in a reality where you know we want to hear what you have to say.  It’s more about the energy behind what you say.  People and reality as a whole can feel the energy you use to express yourself.

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