“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
I have a teeny tiny little-girl voice. Even at my age, (45 big ones), I sound like a child. I used to just cringe when I heard my recorded voice. Ugh, I sound so small and weak and whiney…I don’t even sound like a real grownup! These days, I’m okay with my screechy squeaky voice and my ridiculous girly giggle. For much of my life, I have used everything BUT my voice in futile and painful efforts to somehow be “heard”. Naturally quiet and shy, I was rendered fairly mute from a young age. Add to that my tendency towards depression and anxiety and, well, I suppose I preferred living in my head to articulating the blob of worry I carried within me.
My early teens found me using my appearance instead of my voice. Shaved head, ripped stockings, entire song lyrics written out on my tattered jeans…What the hell was I trying to say?? I think I was a little angry.
My 20s were, unfortunately, defined by eating disorders. Using & abusing my body would prove to be a fairly reliable form of silencing my fears & numbing and dumbing-down my thoughts during those years. Anorexia = hide and deny all the feelings. Bingeing/Purging = Explosively feel all the feelings and then pretend you never felt them.
The post-divorce solitary kid-free weekends of my early 30s lead to a new discovery: Booze! Alcohol was particularly effective. Scared to feel the feelings —> Drink —> Feelings disappear —> Ooooh drink more —> Feelings come barreling in —> Drink more to lose all the feelings….This cycle repeats itself and becomes increasingly boring, annoying, alarming and ultimately, very very destructive. I don’t recommend it.
Learning to use my voice has been a lifetime project. Happily, I no longer employ the above dysfunctional means in desperate attempts to express myself authentically. Learning to articulate feelings is hard work. Sometimes I flub up. Sometimes I need to step back, apologize and start over. Sometimes I need to meet with a therapist and figure it out. Sometimes it takes a 20 mile run to unearth that truth.
The (beautiful) kicker is that I refuse to sit with the incredible humiliation, regret and shame I felt all those years when I used behaviors to speak for me. Shame kills. It literally snatches any chance you might have at a vital and fulfilling life from your hands. I have moments, almost daily, when I have to punch shame in the face. It’s that much of a bully.
Something that has continued to envelope me with hope and courage is witnessing women around me bravely sharing their stories. I truly believe that sharing is a powerful human connector and shame-reducer. Does this mean that it is appropriate for me to run around blabbering extremely sensitive, private truths to every person I meet? Probably not. 🙂 However, my hope is that writing and sharing my truth, openly, might help others do the same. If there is something I can say, really honestly, about the messiness of my life, is that not much surprises me about people. If you were to tell me your hardest scariest truth, my eyes would not widen in disbelief. Most likely, I would nod my head in recognition and say: “Me, too.”
As long as I write for my own benefit, I hope that, in turn, it might help you too. I need to find my way back to this blog more often, even if it’s just me sharing with me. OK, so: sharing! Here’s some of what I’ve been up to:
Injury-free (finally) and getting my road-marathon training on! Hills for days. I have come to accept that ultras require more of me than I have to give (for now!), and I’m working on nailing a “good” marathon time. Lots of miles, lots of good healthy food and some visits to the beloved track = Maybe I will graduate from my slow-as-hell-ultra-shuffle to not-so-slow-and-maybe-a-bit-speedy. WAHOOOOO.
Loading up the miles = running in the wee morning hours = this is my new BFF.
My boy continues to inspire & amaze me. Daily. How did I get this one? I am so damn lucky.
Oh and this is happening. Big, deep breaths.
Simple pleasures: Picking out our pumpkins at the farm. Happy Fall. ❤