ida [2 of 2]

What is extremely unfortunate is that some criticize the medium, the body, more than the voice. If your medium is unappealing, your voice will lose the legitimacy that should exist in and of itself. If you are born a certain race, sexuality, or identity, with certain features, your voice is less important. Your voice is a product of your body and by extension, your voice exhibits your physical identity. The decibels are less powerful. How incredulous is that? Let’s not forget that racialized groups experience this more than anyone. People will always find a way to turn down your volume based on your personality, based on your experiences, based on the colour of your eyes, skin, and hair. You’re opinionated? They’ll turn your voice down. You perform a certain identity? They’ll turn your voice off. That, in my opinion, is nonsensical.

My advice? At some point, you’re going to sit down and realize who exactly you’re living for. That would be you. You are not on this earth to serve someone else’s purpose, at least until you’re equipped to do so. You serve your own. The effects of your positivity, your passion, your perseverance will mute the noise around you. Watch how quickly you attract the same energy you invest into the world, into your relationships, and into yourself. That does not mean that you shouldn’t listen to the voices that are used against you. The next time you receive some questionable comment, try to find the origin, the root of the voice. What causes them to engage in that type of thinking? What culture do they belong to? What are their values? What is their family like? What is the ultimate reason that they are telling you what they are telling you? Is it coming from a place of unfounded opinion or genuine concern? It’s actually fascinating and extremely powerful to shift the criticism that you’re receiving in that way. You are focusing on the producer of the negative opinion, not your body that is being criticized for simply being. That way, you are educating yourself on your own values in addition to those around you (though I hope these aren’t people you value). You won’t regret thinking and overthinking about whether or not you’re good enough. You’ll be better for it. You’ll realize which voices matter and which voices are dissonant background music that we all have to deal with. So, if you happen to be in that critical point in your life, breathe it in, let it consume you, and transform the energy you’re receiving into something that will ultimately benefit you.

Ida is an Iranian-Canadian law student at the University of Ottawa. She pursued her undergraduate degree in Political Science, World Islamic & Middle East Studies, and Communications at McGill University. She’s served as an executive on women empowerment groups including McGill Women in Leadership and the University of Ottawa Association of Women in the Law. She has been a strong advocate for the respect of mental health issues and the accessibility of opportunities for the communities she represents. She’s played the flute at Carnegie Hall, worked as a Legislative Page, and met some important international figures as a result of her dedication to student well-being.

Creds to Thomas Borcsok

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