When did you not speak up when you should have?

There’s a time to speak and there’s a time to listen. Many of us spend most of our time doing a lot more speaking than listening. We’re eager to share our stories and thoughts on the world with others. We can’t wait to tell our bestfriend about the crazy story that happened when we went out last night. We’re quick to pull the trigger and tell our crush about all our deepest secrets to show we have personality. And we jump right into our list of credentials with the guy interviewing us because we want to make sure that see how accomplished we are. Many people enjoy speaking so much that they miss out on learning a lot from others. It’s a give and take with human communication. I think listening is something we could all improve a little more on.

But on the same note, some of us really suck at speaking. We know who we are. It’s the person that gets up to give a graduation toast at a party and freezes like a deer in headlights. It’s the person that takes their boyfriend to dinner and talks about everything except the fact that she’s unhappy in the relationship. It’s the person that tries to explain a funny story to their friends but the whole joke falls flat. Those people have to learn to be better at speaking. But that’s not the only way people suck at speaking. Even the people who could talk a stranger’s ear off have some problems when it comes to speaking. And one of the biggest problems many of us face is not saying anything at all, but rather saying what needs to be said. You have to get the courage to say what needs to be said and face the reality of life head on. So when did you not speak up when you should have?

Here’s a short story on when I did not speak up when I should have.

Thump, thump, thump! I jumped up out of my sleep. I had no idea where I was for a second. It sounded like I was in the middle of a warzone. I started to come to my senses and realized it was just people running up and down the stairs. I rolled over and looked at the time. It was ten in the morning. I guess I couldn’t be mad that the rest of the world was up and functioning while I was passed out like a puppy. And even knowing I should get up, I just rolled back over. As I slowly started drifting back into sleep, I hear four to five more loud thumps. This time it was accompanied by a sweet, relaxing, “Let’s go right now guys!” That was the voice of my sister who always knew how to hit the most annoying pitches. I got up out the bed this time to see what all the ruckus was about. I walked over to the door and thought long and hard on if I wanted to open it. I slowly cracked it to take a peek.

And then it immediately made sense. It was Thanksgiving Day. I was so confused the whole entire time. It didn’t make sense why there were so many people jumping around, running up and down the stairs. Now that I didn’t need to snoop anymore I tried to quickly close the door back. But with most impeccable timing someone said, “Goodmorning Timi!” I looked over and it was my younger little cousin, Carrington. I told her good morning and asked where they were going. She said they were going to our aunt’s house to have Thanksgiving breakfast. Then my sister and older little cousin came running up to me. They had a million and one questions about whether I was coming or not. I told them I didn’t know. I learned over the years it was easier to stay neutral rather commit to something now and shoot myself in the foot. They said okay while running out the door. I quickly asked what time it started.

They said breakfast started at nine thirty. I dropped my head in my hands. Everyone in my family jumped up, got ready, and headed out for breakfast without even thinking of letting me know. I think I reached the pinnacle of true isolation in a family. It’s either they all assume I could care less or they just completely forget that I’m there. I don’t which one is really worse. But I might have to start getting out my room more. I sat there contemplating if I should even show up. It was already so late. I would be walking in looking like the most nonchalant asshole. The food was probably already done. By the time I got ready it would be dinner time. Maybe they didn’t invite me for a reason. My mind was rambling with all kinds of silly thoughts. That is the plight of an overthinker. But just when I figured I get a few more hours of sleep in, I remembered my grandma was there.

She was the one that would be cooking majority of the food after all. I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to see her. I’ve been missing her a lot lately. I had to make my way out there. And not only her, there was a lot of my family that was there. I hadn’t seen my aunts and uncles in a very long time either. And every time I see them it’s always a quick one and done. But it was Thanksgiving Day and I had the whole day to spend time with them. I wasn’t the best at bonding and connecting with others but it was important to me that I make an effort. So after I jumped in the shower and threw on some clothes, I headed out. When I walked inside, I got a very warm welcome from all of my family. I gave everyone a hug and told them I was glad to see them. And there was plenty of food left for me. It goes without saying that it was delicious.

But after a couple of short conversations here and there, I kind of zoned out. I didn’t say much to any of my family. Rather than speak up and ask them about life, health, and happiness, I just observed. There were a couple of simple convos about how we were doing. But the majority of the time I was just listening in on other people’s convos. I was pretty much a third party observer watching the rest of my family bond. It was slightly bothering me in the moment but I didn’t want to force anything. Plus, I had the whole day with all of them. I left right after breakfast and didn’t show back up for dinner. When I got back for dinner there were even more family members. And instead of chatting with them and catching up, I was working on my laptop half the time. I ate the food, danced a little, and then left to go see my friends.

Now that it’s been three days, I notice my mistakes. I should of taken the time to speak up and talk to my family. I wanted to take the time to bond with them, but rather I just stayed in my head the whole time. I had ample time to spend with them but I chose to stay in my comfort zone. Of course there wasn’t a perfect time to speak up. There is never a perfect moment for anything in life. You have to create the moment and seize the opportunities in front of you. I failed to do that. I did more thinking than action. And now I’m really bothered by it. I can’t go back and change anything in the past. I can only choose to be better in the future. And I know now that I have to push myself to be better in the future. I don’t want to live a life full of regret. I love my family and cherish them. But if I need to find a way to motivate myself into showing it, the way I motivate myself to work, I will.

Next time I will speak up. But until then I want all of you to know that I love and care for you all. Don’t let my silence hide my true feelings for you all.

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