Someone Is in Here by Beth Ann Jedziniak

Here’s the truth about why I finally joined the Speaker Sisterhood.

I attended a meeting and loved it but soon after I left, doubts crept in. You know the ones. What do I really have to say that’s of any importance? And why would anyone want to listen to someone like me?

So I decided not to join. And then this happened.

I was in my office late one evening. I gathered my belongings, locked the office door and stopped to use the ladies’ room on the way out. A few minutes later, the door opened and a man stepped into the bathroom. I was terrified. I moved against the far wall of the stall. I remained completely silent and still.

The man, who I’m now pretty sure was a custodian, stepped back out as soon as he realized I was in there. But I remained frozen to the wall for more than twenty minutes.

I spoke with a friend about the incident and how that fearful situation had surfaced other fearful times in my life. She gave me an assignment: “Practice speaking up in low-stakes but nerve-wracking situations.”

And so here I am. This is my practice. This is me digging my way out of the past one syllable at a time. This is me saying that I no longer have to hide or silence myself.

Why did you choose this topic?

I chose it to remind myself why I joined the Speaker Sisterhood. Now I can hear, in my own words and in my own voice, the importance of this work. This short speech, this recording, is a trail of breadcrumbs to lead me back if I ever lose my way.

Why do women in the community need to hear it?

In addition to helping me stay the course, I hope it inspires other women to find their voices. We’re never as alone as we feel. We’re stronger than we think. By speaking our truth out loud, we quiet the mythology that’s been whispering lies to us our whole lives.

WHMP celebrates Women’s History Month in a series of women speaking their truth, produced by WHMP News Director Denise Vozella, who leads a speaking club for women in Northampton, as part of the Speaker Sisterhood. The Speaker Sisterhood provides a community to women who want to discover, awaken, and create their voice through the art of public speaking.