Learning to Speak

Earlier I was reading an article that I could closely relate to. This in itself is not a rare occurrence, but this particular story made something shift in me…

I had felt an urge to write as soon as I woke. Then, upon reading said article the urge increased, but it shifted into an urge to write specifics, a detailed piece about myself and my life, or parts of it at least.

The feeling quickly sent me into a whirlwind of pain. I couldn’t see from behind a thick fog of memories that I did not want to recall at that moment and I felt like I was being forced to tell my story. I felt traumatised. 

I had to spend a long time grounding myself into knowing that there was nobody forcing or even asking me to speak out in such a way, particularly there and then. I had to remind myself that not only was it okay to stay silent but in the moments that I do speak (or write) that that is okay too. 

It’s taken (taking) years to realise I had a voice (sometimes, often, I still need reminding) and I am working hard to understand how I want to use it and when/where it is safe to, but it’s also important for me to remember that I have control over it. That sometimes it is important to listen to myself when I feel afraid and not to push myself too hard. 

I guess this is why my writing, or sharing thereof, ebbs and flows. Sometimes I am like a child wanting to explore new territory that she has always been told was out-of-bounds; excited and jumping in without (much) thought. Other times this child is being obedient to those who forced her to stay locked away (these are the times I need to work on!). And then there are times when she says that she is frightened and wants to stay home so she is not triggered or exposed or seen – and I need to allow her these moments too; to know that she is heard, even when she wants nobody but me to hear.

Learning to speak often comes quickly for a child. When that voice is taken at such a young age, before the learning is complete (and retaken, over and over), learning as an adult seems to take much longer. And yet, I am now learning.

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