Finding My Voice

And no, I’m not talking about singing. Nobody wants to hear that.

I’m talking about finding the ability to say what I’m thinking instead of holding everything in.

Spending my entire life watching family members just shut up and take whatever was dished at them without ever sticking up for themselves… to me it seems normal. I grew up in a home with zero yelling, almost no arguments. But it’s because everyone bottled it up. Unspoken things are so much worse a lot of the time. People’s rights and feelings are trampled without any regard or remorse because everyone just shuts up and takes it.

No good.

You see, I’ve always thought that by never complaining or saying what I want or telling people when they upset me, that I was actually “taking the high road” or some such nonsense. I suppose that would be true with regard to complaining and not telling people I was upset if I actually didn’t care or if I actually could get over it.

Instead what happens is I bottle things up and then they come out when I least expect it. Someone will do something that makes me feel jilted or unimportant and I just shut up. Then weeks or months later, something else they do will trigger a response – one that’s been pushed down under the surface waiting to come out. It usually comes out a sharp barb that doesn’t even reflect my feelings – just the insecure and hurt little inner child lashing out.

That’s not any way to live. And it’s not fair to the people around me.

Nicole would be the first to tell you that I’m not nice when I bottle things up. She claims to be able to see it on my face that I’m not telling her what I think. She calls me on it. And with some reluctance, I usually tell her what’s on my mind. It’s almost always blurted out in awkward or obnoxious fashion, because it’s not something I’m comfortable with doing. I have a lot of practice at not saying anything.

To express what I want, need, or feel seems selfish to me. I know rationally that’s not the case, which is why I’m trying to change. But I still have to force myself to express what I’m thinking.

Because I do it so poorly, I often leave people feeling lambasted when I do finally say what’s on my mind. I choose my words poorly when I’m feeling insecure and I am not very nice. Truculent even.

Nicole is a saint for helping me find my voice, knowing full well it’s going to mean she gets the brunt of my very steep learning curve – obnoxious, spiteful, and insecure comments said in haste. Honestly, she’s the only person I am REALLY able to do this with so far. Because I know she won’t give up on me. She honestly WANTS to know what is happening inside my head. What a concept!

Having that security with her has given me more confidence than I’ve ever had. It’s also made me really, really mad at the people in my life that have walked on me knowing that I wouldn’t say anything. Jerks. Way to take advantage of my personality defect.

The long and the short is, the more confident I become (or at least the more practiced I become) at expressing myself, the more of you are going to experience hearing what I have to say. And those of you that have spent years doing stuff you shouldn’t do and saying things you shouldn’t say – you all are in for a rude awakening.

My silence should not be construed as happiness or as like for you.