No voice equals no choice. No choice equals no power. From now on, I want to be heard.
I had an interesting comment from XBox4NappyRashon one of my posts last week, about whether or not I blog in order to have traffic. Or something to that effect, I don’t remember the exact words but that was the gist of it. He also said something about how it is sometimes hard to read my post BECAUSE I am so angry, which I found interesting. It never fails to surprise me-though it shouldn’t, really-how people in general don’t like to deal with any of those so-called negative emotions like anger, hurt, disappointment, sadness. I think it is, for me, not so much about being angry (though I am) or trying to be “in your face” with it (though, again, I suppose I am); instead, it is about being 36 years old and finally deciding that I am tired of not having a voice. I am weary of living my life based on someone else’s expectations of me, and I am tired of allowing myself to be a victim, of hearing that person inside my head ( and we all have one of those. If you have more than one extra person in your head, you might need help, but I think one is okay) cry out “That’s not right!” but being too afraid to say it out loud.
Just a little history (and this is not blaming, this is fact): I am the youngest of four daughters, and was my dad’s last hope for a son. They were all so sure that I WAS a boy, in fact, that all of the clothes I wore for the first few months of my life were boy clothes. So pretty much from birth, I knew that I wasn’t what what either expected or, frankly, wanted. I never could make up for that, of course, and while my parents never came right out and SAID it, the subtle disappointment in me was always there. My mom and dad got divorced when I was very young, before age 3, I think, and mom subsequently married several other men in succession (to date, I think the count is 6 or 7, though in her mind, two of them don’t count. Okay, yeah.). So to say we were dysfunctional is putting it mildly. There was a lot of violence, a lot of different kinds of abuse, and basically it was akin to hell-for ALL of us. My defense was to do what was expected: be quiet, not cause trouble of any kind, not let anyone see my crying or hurt or sad in any way. I learned early on that the best, most effective way to escape notice was to be invisible. It didn’t always work, but well enough that I kept using that defense for years and years and years. ‘Nuff said.
And as an adult-especially a recovering adult with children, a daughter, I want better. I want each of my children to feel like they have a voice, that they deserve to be heard. I want to teach them that emotions are feelings, not actions, and that they are allowed to feel anger and hurt and be able to cry when and if necessary; it doesn’t mean they are bad or wrong for feeling any particular way. I don’t ever want to see my daughter shrink down into nothing the way I did, out of fear. I don’t want my sons to grow up thinking that only pussies feel hurt and sad, because that turns into anger and aggression, which creates an entirely different set of problems, not only for them but for the people-the women-with whom they come into contact.
So what does this have to do with blogging? Because I have seen the comments, and I have heard other great, strong, beautiful women say things like, “I GET that. I FEEL like that.” So yeah, I have a voice, and there are a few people who are listening. If I can be one of the ones who can stand up and say out loud “This isn’t right!” then maybe more of us will. I am certainly no Martin Luther King, speaking for the downtrodden and calling for some major movement; I am speaking for me, and for every other person who doesn’t feel like what they say matters-because that directly translates into the feeling that WE don’t matter.
I see it all of the time; a woman I know who glances sidelong at her husband, gauging his reaction to her words or, on a bad day, simply choosing to not speak. Out of fear. I see one of the kindest, most gentle and loving men I know, posture and swear because to say, “You really hurt my feelings” is somehow a sign of weakness. I know kids who flinch when mom gets up too fast because she just might be going for them, and I know, KNOW, that what she is teaching them is that they don’t have a voice, or even an identity.
And this is for me, because it makes me feel better. I have used writing as a tool for a long time, because to write about things helps me process them, to make some sort of sense of things that on the surface have no sense. It just so happens that I have found a medium in the bloggy world that suits it, because I think that more people feel the way I do than not-they just don’t write about it. They don’t talk about those secret feelings inside that are deemed unacceptable by the world at large, but they have them-and maybe, just maybe, by writing about my feelings and thoughts-the good and the bad-I will maybe let one other person know that she/he isn’t alone. Nor will I feel so alone.
The thing is, I am not doing myself any favors-or the world around me-by pretending to be doing better than I am. I-we-can’t change things unless we are honest about what needs changed, in our lives and in the world. For years and years, I was a drunk; I drank so that I wouldn’t hurt anymore, so that I could shut up those feelings which the world told me were wrong. I don’t have to do that anymore; by embracing my inner bitch, so to speak, and saying “This is how I feel,” I get to heal parts of myself that I never even knew were damaged. I get to look at my kids and know love, and joy, right along with the more ugly aspects of parenting like frustration and guilt and anger. I get to notice that the willows finally have leaves on them, and get to cry when I hear a song that touches me. I get to stop and close my eyes and have a talk with The Big Guy and tell Him thank you, and mean it. And as hard as it is to believe, I am actually less angry than I was a year ago-because the more I talk about it, the better I get.
Yep, that’s why I blog-so I can get better, find the balance that April talks about. So I can finally have a voice that is mine.