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Louder for the People in the Back

This article started out as one to launch myself as a professional photographer, but while writing this, the meaning of it became much more complex than pleading people to take me seriously as an artist. It became a story of owning the creative power that I have and running with it. Maybe I’ll eventually write the alternate version of this article, but for now, this is simply my claim of intent. I am writing this for my younger self and to those who need to hear that the voices they have are meant to be shared. I am here to share mine.

What does power look like exactly? For years, I was under the impression that I had to fulfill the Anna Wintour archetype to be considered a woman of power. Anna, that was not at all an insult. Please hire me. I needed to wear pant suits and maintain a sort of anonymity to earn any kind of respect. I can attest that a blazer can make you feel very in charge, but as I’ve grown older, I have realized that owning your power does not look a specific way. For everyone, it is simply, or not so simply, recognizing what you are passionate about and leaning into it with your entire being. 


Now, I want to take the time to recognize that I am not a wise old woman sitting in a rocking chair my late husband built for me. I am only nineteen years old and I have a lot of life left to live, but I have recently found myself thinking deeply about how I want that to look. A huge part of that has been recognizing what I have to say and finding ways to say it. For a long time, I let people step over me and talk to me in ways they shouldn’t, so the authentic voice I had was muffled to the point that I didn’t even know what it sounded like anymore. It takes a special group to bring that voice back to life, and I am happy to say that I have found it with this magazine. I am being paid to say this. But in all honesty, joining Her Campus reconnected me with a version of myself I hadn’t paid attention to in a long time. Her voice was loud, and there was finally no one in her way to shut her up. 

Trust me, I tried to stop myself from not speaking, but at one point I gave up. The truth is, I was scared. I was scared that if I let myself speak, I would be too loud, too sappy, too much. But if I have learned anything this past year, it is that if you are speaking from a place of honesty and authenticity, your words will speak volumes no matter how loud or quiet you try to be, and you are doing a disservice to yourself by not even opening your mouth. So, I began to speak. I found my voice through writing. I found my voice, albeit shaky, when I asked almost a complete stranger to co-host a podcast with me. Turns out sometimes that voice that you don’t want to listen to can lead you to your best friends and most treasured memories. 


I think because I silenced my voice at a younger age, she remains young. And now, more than ever, I often check back in to see what she would think of me now. I can’t say for sure, but I think my younger self would be proud. That is really what my voice is now, one that would comfort my younger self when she felt muffled from the world around her. So, I am owning my voice and sharing it because of her. She is why I do anything now. And I won’t stop. I won’t stop writing, I won’t stop taking photos, I won’t stop lifting people up. I lost my voice once, and there is no way I am losing it again. 


Emma D'Arcy

CU Boulder '22

Emma is a junior at CU Boulder studying Communications, and the Director of Chapter Branding for Her Campus CU Boulder. Outside of school, you can find her at a local coffee shop, the farmers market, or writing her latest article!
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