Firefly Healing, LLC

Posts tagged ‘voice’

Why I Write

“The Rosebud Garden of Girls” Julia Margaret Cameron, 1868. (Public Domain)

I wrote poems throughout my life, since the age of 7, but I threw them all away a few years ago. I had carried my peeling, pearly-white-with-gold-flecks binder of handwritten, typewritten, and re-written poetry through 6 moves in 3 states. But the place where they last lived was the place where a lot of me died. I gave away all of my jewelry, even favorite keepsakes. I gave away my little-girl collections—the glass unicorns, the wooden and ceramic boxes, the porcelain angels—because it was not safe there. It was a kind of power to cut away anything that mattered, before someone else did. I buried my dreams and it felt like a mercy killing. It felt like a sacrifice to God. It felt clean.

And then eventually, my grief could not be contained. It opened up one January night like a wellspring and transmuted the threatening bitterness into the words of Another Season. If I could not garden like I wanted to, at least I could write. And now, those buried dreams are sprouting.

I write to discover the voice that almost fell silent. I write to express political, artistic, and spiritual ideas. Writing makes tangible the life that runs through me, bathing and filling the empty spaces, spilling out to reach others…


“In the Month of June” by Laurits Andersen Ring, 1899. (Public Domain)

I always both feared and idolized confident authenticity in others. It seemed so self-indulgent and dangerous to just be out there in the world, unguarded. I preferred the incognito approach for myself. I watched everyone around me and tempered my every action to please as many people as possible. Invisibility would have been ideal, but I settled for nice.

Let others go first. Let others choose. Take up as little space as possible. Apologize for having needs. I was really good at this.

I still am. Mine is not a midlife rebellion story. I still choose to be polite, but I am now being honest too. Pretending to be someone else only spares temporary conflict; it does not lead to true peace.

I still try to fit in, but I now accept that I will seem out of place in some settings no matter what I do.

I am grateful for what is offered to me, but if I have strong preferences against something, I will speak up now. No, thank you. I’m not interested. I have learned to say no.

I used to feel powerless. I used to seek protection and approval from men and people in authority, as if getting them to like me would keep me safe somehow. I have learned that such safety is an illusion, and that giving my power to others is a worse threat than risking independence.

My voice and my wishes were buried so deep that I had lost them. The change came with becoming a mother, and realizing that I want to raise girls who are stronger than I was. The change came when I had faith that if there is a God of Love, my whole self would be loved, not just pieces. The change came when others saw through my pretenses and loved the pieces of me that I thought were unlovable.

True grace changes you. It gave me the courage to unearth the roots of my dormant self. To further the metaphor, grace gave me the courage to bloom into the flower I always was, the only kind of flower I ever could have been anyway.

No more filling my days with what other people want, nurturing their wishes for me and tending to things that choke my soul. No more living in someone else’s eyes.

This is where I let the neglected pieces of myself have their chance in the sun.

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