Breaking the unspoken rule against voicing my opinions

Story by Kimberly Hsueh
Senior Staff Writer

This has been an unsettling topic that has been on my mind since childhood: the love/hate relationship I have with my parents. 

One of the first rules my parents established was “don’t talk back.” No matter how invalid my parents’ arguments were, talking back meant receiving the silent treatment for weeks and tiptoeing around them. Home was always a battlefield when minds clashed, and I just realized how much of a negative impact it had on me. 

Although I didn’t process the reason why I had such stifling anxiety when I had debates or socratic seminars, I understood that there was something in my life that restrained me from speaking comfortably. My mind was jumbled and I could never comprehensively support my claims. I thought that it was the feeling of being judged that frightened me, but it was more than that.

I was raised to be complacent, to be silent, and arguing for what I stood for was unheard of. My parents indirectly stumped my ability to speak for myself and the only voice I did have was through writing. So I translated my writing into speech. 

During mandatory participations and with the help of Zoom, I would prepare a script and read off my paragraph. But recently, I have begun to trust my knotted string of thoughts and speak with no preparation. The more I spoke, the more the string unraveled; I could feel my brain crank and my cheeks flush red. 

It has been a rough journey and I constantly relive my speeches, cringing in embarrassment. But, not having to rely on a script has been somewhat empowering and has sparked my desire to speak up. This has unfortunately resulted in raised voices and an unseen tension in my household, but discovering how to present this issue and raise open mindedness through communication is one last battle I would like to go through, before I leave for college.

I do love my parents and I do realize the sacrifices they have made to get me to where I am today. But, their actions and words have created several problems within me that I still struggle to address and understand. The tint of resentment will never fade until I break the unspoken rule and consistently voice my opinions. Misunderstandings may have weakened our familial bonds, but communicating both perspectives will be the key to strengthening the connection between us.

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