-Inspired by Clarity Sunshield. –
I won’t be linking this one on my Facebook page like I usually do. I don’t always, depending on the subject matter, because even in this day and age, there are people who tell me not to write this, not to say that. Sometimes they even tell me not to think such a thing. And sometimes, I simply don’t want to deal with it.
I don’t listen when they tell me to shut up. Maybe I won’t say (or write) it where they can hear me, but it won’t stop me from speaking. It took me a long time to learn how to use my voice. I am not going to stop now.
“People are strange, to be sure. They prefer to hear castrati in boys’ choirs. But God will come and stay a long time when the songs of the poor reach His ears.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Titelblatt
I’m not particularly religious. In fact, in the words of Timber Hawkeye, I am “faithfully religionless”. So the choice to use a quote with the word God in it may seem strange. But I’m good with it. No matter how you see it, God is something bigger than me. Bigger than you. Bigger than all of us.
God doesn’t try to silence me. God lets me speak. God, being more than me, sees all, including my life. Including your life. Including us all. If I speak to God, to that bigness that includes us all, I will find others like me who tell me it’s okay if I hurt. They will tell me I don’t have to hold the pain inside myself. I can let it out, and then they’ll help me bear it.
“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” – Adrienne Rich
Sad thing is, for too many years, I didn’t know how to talk. Even to God. I’m not sure when I did learn, but I know it had to do with writing. It happened when I learned to write the truth.
Before I spoke, I hurt. I hurt so bad that I cut myself, slicing and tearing into my own flesh to cause pain. Before I cut, I would tense up – but only inside. Never outwardly where people could see. I learned to steel myself with a frozen face to endure what was about to come. And then, with no emotion, I would cut and rip at my own flesh, seeing how much pain I could take. The bigger the raw wound, the greater the pain, and the greater the pain, the better I felt. I could take it. I became a master of endurance. No matter what pain anyone else inflicted on me, I could take it without flinching. And when it was done, I could relax, satisfied and calm. I had endured. I would endure.
The world inflicted pain, every way I turned. People taunted and teased and hurt me. My own body hurt me. My own self. I was fat, ugly, my breasts didn’t grow, my face was covered with zits. No one loved me. Not even me. I was a failure. But I couldn’t tell anyone. It was all my fault, and if I told, they’d only laugh harder.
If I had a voice back then, I could have shared the pain with others who understood. Some wouldn’t understand, of course. But if I never spoke, no one would ever recognize what I said.
“Many times in life I’ve regretted the things I’ve said without thinking. But I’ve never regretted the things I said nearly as much as the words I left unspoken.” – Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy
Too many times I’ve kept silent when I should have spoken. When I should have screamed. Then I wouldn’t have felt so alone. I wouldn’t have known such hatred. People who hurt you can keep hurting you if you say nothing because no one knows what they do. No one stops them. Life hurts so much more when you keep it to yourself.
“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.” – Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope
I understand if you don’t know what I know, if you don’t see what I see, if you haven’t been through my life. That’s fine. You don’t have to know and you don’t have to agree. But it isn’t acceptable for you to silence me. I have a right to my life, and that includes the pain that comes along with being me. And I have a right to sing to God at the top of my lungs if I want. If writing loud and hard is the only way to let the pain out, then so be it.