Finding My Voice Through Those of the Past

What have you started this year that made an unexpectedly big impact in the way you approach everyday life?

For me it was taking a course that I really did not have the time for, but I decided to try anyways. Ever since this brilliant find in the ever mundane scroll to find new classes for the semester, I have been excited to begin my “Women in Literature” course with Dr. BB. I was not sure what to expect, thoughts running through my head like, “Is this course going to only examine authors like Austen and Chopin in greater detail?” I really had no concept of what the course would be about other than the promise of looking at women authors.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved authors like Kate Chopin and Jane Austen, but I was ready to see some more diverse women in the mix, ones with different stories to tell. Of course, with women so often being left out of the canon, it’s hard to not be excited about getting ANY material from women authors, so I walked into the course with an open mind.

It was everything I had hoped and dreamed of. It feels like the book club I could never get the courage to join before. I can’t exactly explain the feeling I have when I am in this class, but it always feels like I am discovering something about myself I had not known before. I finally feel like I have a place where my voice and opinions could be heard and understood. Not only has the class environment helped me open up to being more comfortable with speaking my own opinions, but it has also shown me women in my school who have gone through similar experiences as me. Sometimes it is easy to feel alone and overwhelmed with everything women have to face and “accept” in their lives. Things like feeling powerless in certain situations, or constantly looking over your shoulder in fear of being followed at night, or thinking things like “Am I being crazy about this?” Since reading and discussing these things with my classmates, I have been able to address the things that I have let slide because of social norms. I now feel like my opinion is wanted and deserves to be heard in spaces outside of my classroom. Of course, the magic that binds this environment and its people together is the novels themselves. So far this semester we have only read two; however, they have completely changed the way I look at novels when choosing books. Now, I’m not saying that I will never read a male author again, but it is nice to read an author who understands all of the anxieties and situations that women face. It has shown me that even though we may not have all gone through the exact same things, there are still communities of women out there who understand and support one another. It is nice to know I have found my very own embedded in a literature-lovers’ room.