On the Nature of Speaking

August 15, 2011

There remain 14 days until my departure for Israel.

Speaking is truly a multifaceted skill to be honed.

In what ways do we speak?
Verbally, non-verbally, vocally, non-vocally. We write (and blog). We dance. 

What do you want to say? What do you believe in? What needs to be said? Do you wish to tell stories? Why? Do you want to start an argument? Do you want to say what no one else will? Or perhaps what others have said before, but in your own way? Do you tell truths? Lies? Fantasies?

Ah, and what of deciding when to speak? “Not everything that goes through your head needs to come out of your mouth.” These words were spoken by TJ Doucette, a former colorguard instructor and mentor of mine. This advice, (or golden nugget, as she used to call her philosophies) has stuck with me for years since I marched with The Blue Devils.

Well, if it needs to be said, how do you say it? Do you whisper it? Tell it on the mountain? Do you shout it from the rooftops or send it in a letter? Do you blurt it all out at once or say it slowly? Do you write it down? How carefully do you choose your words?

Should you say it at all? Why or when should we choose not to speak? Is it untruthful to do so? Or is it polite? Where do we draw the line? I was once told that I had a powerful voice. I believe it was a professional euphemism and a critique on my deciding to speak up to an [audience] that didn’t need to hear it.  So do you speak? Speak. Don’t speak.

Who is your audience? To whom are you speaking? What do you say to them? Who hears the words coming from my mouth? Who reads this blog? Who sees my posts on Facebook, my tweets, my YouTube videos? Who watches my choreography? Who cares? Why do I care what I tell people and how they perceive it? What do they think about it, and how do I feel about that?

Finally, how does speaking (and everything about it) form your identity?
Who do you become because of what you speak?

Use the comment form below to speak your mind. Or not.


  1. funny thing is that i am the biggest believer on saying whats on your mind all the time and this made me almost rethink where i come from in my way of thinking. your mentor’s words really stick out to me clearly because it sets boundaries… maybe someone can be extremely honest and say what they need to say by filtering what they want to say. its all about balance i guess…. but amazing post really made me think =)

    • I’m glad I could share TJ’s advice with you, Jerry!

  2. Looking back, it’s funny I had not anticipated the language hurdles to come.

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