Two hours are spent on a train every day to get to work and back by yours truly, delays and shitty weather aside. As you can well believe, it gets dull, so in order to make it through the day without having to watch paint dry, I keep my bag well-equipped with anti-boredom ammunition.
There’s a silence that almost drains you as the train stops and starts from station to station, so my trusty iPod Nano - updated regularly with the latest resurfaced Noughties pop gems - and a good read are what get me through the deafening quiet. With their help, I’m mentally transported to different worlds as I’m physically transported at 100mph.
However, in the near distance, a voice interrupts my trail of thought. At the risk of sounding like Brandon Urie: oh well imagine, as I’m pacing the pews (aisles) of a church (train) corridor (carriage), and I can’t help but to hear, no I can’t help but to hear an exchanging of words. The familiar name of an old school friend echoes in my ear enticing me to eavesdrop. My eyes follow the sound, and there, but a seat away from me, is a woman speaking with another. Well dressed, good handbag and an iPhone in hand, perhaps a fellow office dweller. Her magenta lips are speaking rapidly as she speaks about this old friend. And then she starts to talk about the next town along from mine.
At this point, I really wanted to join in her conversation and tell her that I know the aforementioned person and happen to live in the same area. But surely I can't disturb the other silent commuters? Would I sound silly to butt in? Would they stare at me weirdly for commenting? This was a huge risk for me, the usually quiet music mouse.
As I sat and mulled over whether to contribute to the conversation, I thought about how I’ve always admired the loud women, whether that be on trains, in the street, in the pub or in the boardroom. I admire them because they laugh and chat and have a good time speaking; they exude confidence and show the world that women aren’t timid creatures who will just sit and let their lives go on in silence. They demonstrate that we, even the shy ones, have a voice, no matter how trivial or serious the conversation is. Why couldn’t I be one of them too?
With that, I broke the 'train rules' and interjected, speaking up confidently about a place in our town that they’d mentioned. And you know what? They not only smiled and included me in their conversation, but actually slid over to let me stand by them. And when I mentioned the old school friend? Turns out he was the girl’s boyfriend. A small world, but a big step for me, the quiet one.
Ladies (and gentlemen), please do not be shy to make your voices heard, whether you’re on public transport, or any other environment for that matter. From a commuter’s point of view, I understand and respect that some may want to just chill before their day begins and reflect in their morning thoughts. But this woman talked so loudly that all commuters within a carriage could hear her; she broke the unspoken rule (that really isn’t even a rule). And it was refreshing as hell.
Why should commuting be so dismal when early birds are chirping away spreading joy? She wasn’t being obnoxious or mean, she was having pleasant conversation. And surely her confidence is a sign of strength, not something to scowl at (I’m looking at you middle-aged business man with a face like thunder). Wouldn’t train journeys be so much better if people actually spoke to each other? The professional lobe of my brain also thinks people miss a major networking opportunity; you never know who you are sitting next to unless you participate in conversation. They could become an essential contact for your next job or become a new friend. Especially in my case.
Commuting aside, it’s okay to be loud, it’s okay to make yourself heard. Your voice, your opinions, your beliefs, and your badass attitude are all deserving of being acknowledged, even if you feel at times you have to scream it from the rooftops. We as women were not made to be silent, but to break rules and speak up. Remember that the next time you head up an important meeting, approach your colleague, or even just in everyday life. They say actions speak louder than words, which I wholeheartedly agree, but amongst it all, don’t let your words lose their volume.