When I was in college, one of my favorite professors gave a fantastic speech advising us to look for our match in life, and not settle for the bland fantasies that are often lauded as ideal (the Knight in Shining Armor, the Maidan in Distress, the Strong Silent type, the Pretty But Stupid type, etc.). He was promptly reprimanded by the nuns who ran the place. Why? They heard an endorsement for gay marriage.

My professor's explanation of this was, "The Speaker is responsible for what the Listener hears."

I call bullshit.

I call bullshit because this is a fancy way of saying you, as the Messenger, can expect to be killed. Repeatedly. So absolutely make sure to account for every single viewpoint in the room before you open your mouth. (Ironically, this goes against pretty much all of the points my professor made in his speech.)

When expended, we know this is nonsense. And anyone who has done any sort of marketing training knows that when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

Yet, like my professor, even though we don't believe in it, we live by this philosophy.

We smile and say thank you to the creep who gave us a "compliment" on the street.

We modulate our tone of voice so others don't perceive it as threatening at work.

We silence ourselves by putting on headphones, not volunteering for roles we desire, or biting our tongues (if you can't say anything nice, after all).

We do this so we are not (potentially literally) killed.

We avoid death at other's hands by killing ourselves. We kill our potential, we murder our boundaries, we commit suicide of our self expression.

And we don't think twice about it until our bodies start screaming. Pelvic pain, sexual pain, low back pain and any associated dysfunction can all have roots in this fundamental denial of self.

Every instance of this inner crunch has effects on our physiology and structure. And no matter how many pills we take, how many surgeries we have, how many bodyworkers, PTs, or doctors we see, our pain will only continue to worsen or move until we address the underlying issue. Until we declare our boundaries and express ourselves.

Others will hear what they are prepared to hear no matter what we say or how we say it. "That's a nice coat!" can easily be heard with Mean Girl sarcasm, or as a sincere compliment regardless of the intention or tone of the speaker. (Hell, I once got actual coal for Christmas and thought it was the best gift ever because that was the year I was collecting rocks.)

We must act from our values, express our message, regardless of what anyone else might hear.

We need to hear ourselves and risk being murdered, lest we commit violence to ourselves.

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