My Voice

I have difficulty finding my voice.

Not to be too cliche, but I think it started as a child. Back in the 70s in the place that I grew up, children’s opinions weren’t too highly valued. Children were seen as mere extensions of the adults around them. My voice got drowned out the dynamics of my family. On top of that, I was taught that being liked was more important than pretty much anything else in this world – and that included being true to yourself. So I swallowed my words, for fear that someone might not like me for what I thought and felt.

It was always better to hurt my own feelings than someone else’s.

That’s a pattern that has continued through my life. I stifled so much of myself in my marriage. I was quiet when it felt wrong to be so. I substituted my ex husband’s judgment for my own. I had issues with my friends that I was never able to talk to them about. I shoved everything way down deep inside and kept everything on the outside as I thought people wanted it to be.

And that pattern continues to this day. I gobble down my words and thoughts and feelings. I push them down as far as they will go. If someone is to be hurt, it’s better to be me than anyone else – that is the lie I tell myself. And so I quiet my voice and collect my hurts, chastising myself for being a shitty example to my daughters, who I never want to feel like they’ve lost their voices.

And yet, continuing down this road of silence and self-injury is the one I am most familiar with. It’s my comfort zone. Breaking out of that leaves too much space for unknown factors. Maybe it’s a control thing…controlling myself so I don’t have to worry about controlling others.

In any case, whatever the reason, I am continuing down this road. I keep serving myself up big old helpings of words and thoughts and feelings that I gobble down like a starving hobo. You’d think I’d be full by now, wouldn’t you?


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