Saturday, February 4, 2012
Finding My Voice
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about all the things that I have done and not done in my life, and all the things I still want to do in what is left of my life. I guess you could call it a “mid-life reflection”. There is no crisis, for once. For the first time in my life I actually feel at peace with myself, and the life I chose for myself. And I have a renewed determination to move forward with the things that are important to me.
This blog is important to me. For the first time in my life I feel free to share my story, the whole story, not some censored, sugar-coated, try-not-to-offend-anyone story, but MY REAL story. Well, I still censor myself a little bit, just not in the same way. I still have censor myself for the obvious legal reasons, but I don't feel the need to worry about offending my relatives anymore. Some of you might be surprised that I have felt the need to censor myself so strongly for the sake of my “family” that it has rendered me virtually mute. After all, family are supposed to be the people you are safe to be yourself with, the people who will love you, and accept you no matter what happens. Not my family.
I learned very early that pretty much everything I thought, felt, or believed was just plain wrong in their eyes. And I was told quite clearly that if I did not agree with the family status quo I should learn to keep my mouth shut, or suffer the consequences. They wouldn't debate the issue with me or even explain why they believed the way they did, nope. They would be happy to insult and belittle me, but never actually talk with me.
I never even really understood until recently just how much they have silenced me. I have wanted to write a blog for years. I have even started once or twice. But I found it so difficult to express myself while trying to censor everything to protect the sensitivities of the people most closely related to me. There is so much about who I am and what I have done in my life that they just don't want to know about. When I leave all that stuff out, there isn't much left of me to talk about.
I started writing when I was around 11 or 12. I still have a couple of boxes of stuff I wrote as a young girl making her way to becoming a woman. Most of it is pretty bad. But hey I was 12, what do you expect? And if you have ever read books marketed at 12 year old girls, well, my stuff probably wasn't that bad after all. I wanted to grow up to be a professional writer. It was really the only thing I ever wanted to do besides be a Mother and a homemaker. I wrote for hours everyday, from the time I was 11 until I was 19, and at least a few hours a week from 19-23. But I learned that what you write down, even if you never meant for anyone else to ever read it, can and will be used against you in the future. And where I thought my family had cornered the market on silencing me, my ex-husband found a whole new avenue of exploitation. It took getting to a time and place in my life where I just don't give a fuck anymore before I could start writing again. And I have finally reached that point!
So the shackles are off, and I am coming out of the corner where I spent my life hiding who I am. I am throwing it all out there, a little at a time, in hopes of finally finding my voice, in hopes in inspiring others to find their voices, or at least a little peace with themselves. I have stayed silent too long, protecting the guilty and allowing them to continue to silence me is no longer an option. I finally learned that I am not alone, there are people out there who do understand, and even occasionally agree with, my crazy way of looking at the world. I am not a bad person, or any less of a person, just because I don't agree with someone else and their view of the world. It just means I have a different point of view. If you don't like my point of view, that's fine, but don't tell me I am not allowed to have it, or that I am “wrong” to believe what I believe. Especially if you have nothing to show that your belief is “right” other than because you say it is right.
I hope other people benefit a little bit from this blog as well. In telling my stories I hope to shine a light for others to find their way out of the corners they have hidden in. To show them that it is okay to be flawed. It is okay to be different. It is okay to be whoever you are, to believe whatever you believe, and as long as you take responsibility for your life you can make it be whatever you want it to be.
I own my flaws and failings. I know that I fight against “mental illness” everyday, but I think everyone does really. Our society today is so fucked up how could anyone possibly not be a little messed up in the head? To expect people to fit into tight little molds of what is acceptable to be, is to condemn them to forever falling short, how is anyone supposed to process that? So my brain doesn't work like everyone elses brain, oh well, nobody's does. Everybody is different. And everybody is going to have differences from everyone else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Our differences are what make life interesting and more fun! The problem lies in those who think that being different is bad. Don't let their problem run your life! You can choose to accept that there is nothing wrong with being different, and make your differences work for you. You don't have to accept their version of what is acceptable. Make your own version, and own it. When you really take ownership of your own world view, you can choose to make it work for you instead of allowing others to use it against you.