Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shouting in a Loud Voice

I have been on a journey over the past thirty years to take back my voice and shout loudly from the rooftops.

See, when you have been silenced, or coerced to silence, scared silent, or forced silent, you will do anything to hold onto that precious thing you have - the right to speak.

When I was a little girl, someone used fear and intimidation to silence me. I was not allowed to have sleepovers or to sleepover, even in high school.  I couldn't go hang out with my friends and was basically made to feel unsure of my voice, even as my father had introduced me to the pen at age 10.

My step-sister violated my sanctity and privacy.  She read my tweenage journal where I pined after my long dead mother, my  long gone big sisters and brothers who knew nothing of my daily terror.  I was alone in a house full of people and poured out my heart in the pages of that diary.  She read it and then told my step-mother, my tormentor, that I wanted to run away, wished for my dead mother, and just wanted to feel safe again.

I learned not to trust.  I kept writing and found ways to hide my voice, I knew my survival meant that.  My voice must have been powerful, even then, that there were so many efforts to quiet me, to still the pen.

The thoughts, the words are sacred.

In college, there was a friend, strictly a friend, who was hanging out at my apartment, a Sunday study session, and I fell asleep. I  was working full-time and going to college full-time, back in the mid-to-late 1980s, a lot on the shoulders of my young life.  Exhaustion set in like a storm cloud, I could not stay awake anymore and a Sunday afternoon nap was the only remedy.  When I woke up, my friend was sitting in my living room, reading my journal, the angst of my twenty-one-year-old self. I was livid. I gave him a piece of my mind, kicked him out, and never wrote in my journal again for several years.

The voice of the mind is a precious thing, not something to be taken for granted or forced into silence.

Years went by before I picked up the pen again.  It was the gentle prodding of an English professor who at first turned my direction to my poetry, wish I had those early pieces now.  I started channeling my observations and thoughts into prose and poetry, and eventually, essays.  I became a thinker, observer, and reviewer.

My journals are still sacred space, hidden among my belongings, something they may read when I die, or something I will burn later.  I still find peace and solitude in the word, in expression, and I still find power in the ability to utter what others would have me quiet.

I have become an observer and in my later years, a commenter about politics.  I think I am channeling parts of my late father who used to watch the evening news and warned about the dangers of not remembering history, the trajectory of the country threatening to destroy gains won though hard lessons and strong discourse.  The words that matter.

This life is only one, only one I have.  This writing is my passion, my purpose, the thing that the Divine One put in my hand, unfinished from generations before, in my hand to do - to use the power of the pen or the keys to convey the message, the thought, and to create dialogue.

"soulful" is how one follower described my writing, a deep longing and soulful presence. This is who I am and I will not be silenced-shouting it in my loud voice!

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