It can be hard to talk about the more awkward things in life – nobody really likes to talk about relationship issues or health issues – but finding your voice and speaking openly is just the start to paving the way to a better, more understanding society.
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At a baby shower the other weekend, the conversation between my girlfriends and I turned from the caramel popcorn and wine, to fertility and related issues (I will just state it now – I am not planning on having my own children anytime soon, it was just a general discussion). In a relatively small group of people, it seemed that there was a high incidence of polycystic ovaries, some issues with hormonal imbalances and quite a few were looking, or had looked at, IVF. What stunned me more than anything (surprisingly, the issues themselves don’t seem to shock me too much anymore) was the ‘lay it all out on the table’ attitude that the group of women I was talking to had. They weren’t embarrassed to share that they had been seeking hormonal treatment to regulate themselves, nor was it a secret that people had been looking into IVF to try and fall pregnant. In fact, it almost seemed normal.
‘It almost seemed normal’… that there is a beautiful sentence.
I have always believed that larger societal issues stem from, amongst other things, suppression. When conversation about something doesn’t flow naturally, or people are uncomfortable discussing it in an open forum, a certain taboo or stigma forms around it. Take, for example, the correlation between homosexuality and suicide. I am no expert, but I can’t help but believe if it were easier for everyone to talk about and accept homosexuality, then the number of related suicides would decrease. Similarly, if sex and everything related to – urges, desires, the mechanics of it all, even STD’s – was talked about more freely across the board, perhaps there would be more of an understanding amongst society and less mishandling of feelings, desires and issues that arise (I personally believe that this is a big issue of many of the underlying issues in sexual misconduct cases).
It goes without saying, I always believe in the power of conversation. How can anything be fixed if nothing is said? How can you attempt to rectify a problem if you don’t know what it is, what caused it in the first place, or how it is making you feel? Opening up conversation starts breaking down barriers and taboos, and begins paving the way to solving problems.
I consider myself rather confident, and open to talking about some of the more awkward things in life, especially now as I am growing more mature. Often, in my own admissions through this here space, I have had women and men reach out to me to admit that they felt the same, or that they had found certain things to help when they went through the same thing. Honesty is a powerful thing, and it is amazing to know that talking about things – especially on such a public forum like this – can have a profound impact on others. The rise of internet sensations Constance Hall and Em Rusciano – not because of their perfect figures and enviable bouncy, blow dried waves, but because of their brutal and often hilarious honesty – is a perfect measure of how much society craves and connects with open discussion. Watching over 5000 men and women share similar stories on a comment by Em or Constance is proof in the pudding that finding a voice, speaking out and being honest makes things normal.
So why all the waffle?
I just want to encourage anyone who happens to read this to talk to their friends, their family, or even the wider world wide web community. Talk openly about that time you went and had a pap smear and fainted (true story. every. single. bloody. time), about those few months where you went to see a councillor because you were feeling so blue, or about that time you wanted to absolutely whallop your child and had to muster all your strength not to… you might just find that your friends and family have been through the exact same thing. Identifying with others who have been through a similar thing lifts a huge weight off your shoulders, makes you feel less alone, and you feel normal. You feel normal for these things you felt were happening only to you. Find your voice, and encourage others to do so, because the more we learn, talk and share, the more our society grows and accepts.