Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Finding My Voice

"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means it no longer controls our lives."

Saw this in a meme. It suits this place in my personal journey so well. I love those moments when you hear or see something that resonates deeply with the moment.

In the first five and a half years of blogging, there were some major changes in my life, many directly related to my writing and exploration of recovery in a public forum.

By 2005, I was in the groove, in more than one sense. I'd found my rhythm, my style, my niche. I was healing, growing and even, in some small way, setting an example for others. I knew where I was supposed to be going with it all. I was comfortable and even cautiously optimistic about my end goal.

Then a Thing happened. That Thing precipitated other Things and before I knew it, they morphed into a Giant Thing... and that Thing stole my voice.

That's not to say I didn't participate in the silencing of me. I did and take full responsibility for the choices I made which contributed to the creation of said Giant Silencing Thing. If I'm honest, I sat and watched as my voice was stolen. Barely put up much of a fight, really.

Other parties were involved in various ways and I'm learning to be okay with their roles. I'm choosing to be honest about feeling regret for allowing certain people into my life and my home. It was that unguarded mistake which allowed for the First Thing and all which would follow. Had I paid attention to early warning signs, and the later blaring alarms, I could have continued on my merry way straight toward a nice, neat fulfillment of my goal.

So no matter what follows in the realm of exploring the Giant Silencing Thing, remember I'm not pointing a finger and saying "You did this to me!". Unless we're talking about parents and specific genetic traits, that's a stupid and unrealistic statement to make. Even then, it can be pretty questionable. Who would point to a parent and say, "You gave me these hazel eyes! Didn't you know I would want them green? You've ruined my life."

I will say "This Thing happened with this person and here was a result of that happening." Some of those people may not like this choice. They will have to deal. This is my life and I will never again accept threats or be shamed into silence about my life. I like my life. I'm proud of my life. I'm even proud of the failures and shortcomings because it means I've accepted the truth of imperfection and am willing to carry on with the knowledge I might fall on my butt and have to try again.

If you have affected my life, I won't hide it. If you'd rather not be mentioned in specific stories, talk to me with respect and we can come to a compromise that allows me voice and you privacy. This is the only time I will make that invitation.

It's important to me to make this statement because at some point in the future there is a real possibility of hearing from a person who very specifically and in many different ways told me straight up "You are not allowed to ever talk about me. Ever." Like the blame statement about eye color, this is a pretty stupid thing to tell someone. That's like saying, "I'm going to be a part of your life. In fact, I'm going to actively seek to control all aspects of your life and family but you may never speak of it." Which is not only incredibly stupid, it would at least have been more honest than much of what this particular person said or did in the time she was part of our lives. Had she made the latter statement, perhaps we'd have taken evasive action sooner and avoided a lot of lasting damage.

Which brings us to the opening quote and the entry title.

My voice was damaged. Not my literal voice. Smoking did that.

Quitting smoking allowed most of the literal vocal damage to heal.

Similarly, choosing to tell the Giant Silencing Thing to get well and truly fucked, will allow the damage done to heal.

I should also mention the Giant Silencing Thing  is another metaphor. I won't call a person a thing. I might call a person an aggravating, sociopathic pain in the ass but I won't intentionally detract from their inherent humanity or personhood. But as there were many people involved, it should be known the Giant Silencing Thing isn't one of them.

That metaphorical well and true fucking is going to have to happen here. In the form of talking about all the areas of life affected, like the frequent stop and start of every blogging venture since the original, the shameful, utter failure to create a new website and community, the resulting loss of credibility and trust and the general lack of caring about things which were once deeply meaningful. The struggle to allow any new person anywhere near my true self or my natural compassion which is safely locked away where it can't be used. The years of work it took to repair damage done to the kids and to my relationships with Krys and Becka. Charlie's pain about the whole thing and the extra pain he feels when talking about what was tolerated and allowed in the name of keeping the peace.

Those kinds of effects.

Also, anger and fear. That's a nasty combination of emotions which gives Giant Silencing Things lots of extra essentials for growing into proper monsters.

As I'm finding my voice in the form of practicing this speaking out about Things... there's also the hope I find my writing voice again. Hit that groove. Maybe make a difference. Rebuild some things destroyed. Get back on the road to my goal.

Goals are good.

So is having a voice and choosing to use it.