Go ahead and say it

2019-10-14

When I was a kid, I was very shy. I remember being at a party with a friend of mine and a few other kids I wasn’t close with. They were all making dumb, kid-type jokes with each other about some subject, who even remembers. Farts, probably. I was saying nothing because I was convinced I had nothing to contribute.

But then I did actually think of a fart joke I thought was pretty funny. I leaned over and quietly whispered it to my friend, who I knew wouldn’t judge me too hard if he didn’t like it.

“That’s funny,” he told me quietly. “You should say it to the group.”

In retrospect, it was a moment of genuine and touching humanity that I didn’t appreciate at the time. He was trying to teach me something he understood.

I shook my head. I was too shy.

“If you don’t say it, I’m going to,” he told me. I shrugged.

So he told them my joke. They laughed, and he gave me a look that I didn’t understand. Then we all moved on with our lives, because it was a lesson I needed to learn many, many more times before it would start to stick.

Whatever you have to say, and whatever you hope it makes people feel, it’s worth saying it with your own voice.