Lost Words: Finding My Voice

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Times may be strange or maybe really flipping cool when you find yourself aligned with and inspired by Britney Spears. Goodness yeah… so I’d say for a good 10 or 15 years now I don’t watch TV, I don’t watch movies, I don’t know who anyone in Hollywood is. Of course, I remember Britney Spears being in the news years ago and she was always a joke, right? Messing things up, acting trashy, always someone to poke fun at. I didn’t pay that much attention or think about it and certainly never considered it was wrong.

Recently, I really needed to take a break from working and I just wanted to open up my phone and read something that I normally wouldn’t read. The first thing that jumped out at me was the transcript of when Britney finally spoke up in court and I honest-to-God felt like there was this ball of energy inside me just ready to explode and I was cheering for her and I was FEELING her voice come back (no more of that soft, mouse-like, shallow sound— this voice was coming from deep within and it was powerful and strong) and I was like holy hell!!!

Of course, my situation is apples and oranges with hers yet it’s the same. Having been under a weight and not being able to use your voice and having to be this version of yourself that you’re not and just losing yourself and then becoming complicit with it but having this anger inside and finding that the anger points you to a spark even though you’ve believed for so long that you don’t even have a spark anymore.

So, reading the transcript, I’m riveted. I’m empowered and the timing is so beautiful. So much of the same energy around me right now. I just read this chapter in Women Who Run With the Wolves and it was one of those chapters that didn’t really interest me (and surprise, it ended up speaking directly to me). It is about a Russian tale of a girl named Vasalisa. What spoke (shouted) to me was the idea that so many women, starting at a young age, feel so pulled to be good and kind and not upset anyone. You don’t want to rock the boat and so put on your smile and say “yes, I’ll do that” even though inside you’re like I don’t fucking want to do that!! but you’d never say that because you don’t you don’t want to be ugly– you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings –you want to make people feel good.

When someone is problematic, you feel like it is your job to somehow change your behavior and “fix” things. You focus so much on doing what you feel you “should” do, that you never stop and think, “wait hold on this other person is completely fucked up!” Right?? You’re sitting there and you’re fighting to change yourself and lessen who you are and quiet your voice and swallow everything that wants to come out of you because that’s not supposed to come out of you. You are supposed to just smile and say, “yeah OK.” Meanwhile, every day you’re less and less of who you are.

So I’m reading that chapter (highlighting the hell out of it) and suddenly, out of the blue, Nico picked up on something that I didn’t even pick up on until recently. Nine times out of 10 I don’t finish my sentences. I just let them dwindle off… (yup, like that…) Either they dwindle off or they just get stuck in my throat and I just accept that it gets stuck in my throat and I don’t try to finish what I was saying. He just asked me the other night, What is up with that???? Why don’t you ever finish your sentences???? And so we talked about it because I think it’s important that he understand a bit because he is seeing things his Dad does.

My mom definitely had issues that she never dealt with and they just didn’t allow for the warmth and love that I needed as a kid. It was this constant thing of me being so excited to tell her something and she would just blatantly ignore me or change the subject completely. Like not even respond, not even a nod, or “mmm” and certainly never any “good for you” or “isn’t that exciting.” There was never a question. There was never a response. Instead, there was walking away, doing something else, cutting me off just to start a completely different conversation. It was always the message of “you know, what you have to say really doesn’t matter at all.”

Sooooo, hello! Probably not such a coincidence to find myself in a relationship for over 20 years with someone who does the same thing. Well, much worse. Ignores or blatantly mocks me or tells me how horrible the sound of my voice is or pretends like he doesn’t hear me so that I have to say, “Did you hear me?” and he erupts, “of course I heard you!” It’s like a game-not listening,not responding, not asking questions, not being there at all, changing the subject completely….

I went through a time where my voice would just get louder and louder and louder– almost screaming. It wasn’t on purpose. I’d be talking and, knowing I wasn’t being listened to, I would talk louder and louder and louder. Many times I’d be in public and then people would be like “Mary, what’s wrong with you?!” Ugh. It was such desperation to simply be heard. Now I simply don’t finish sentences and I don’t even get concerned about it. When I’m comfortable with someone, I just trail off or stop mid-sentence. But when I’m uncomfortable, the words will literally get stuck in my throat and die there.

I didn’t get into all of this with Nico. But we did touch on what he has already seen and felt. Time and again, he’s seen the game their Dad does with me. He’s also experienced a different version. The kids like will very specifically say, “Daddy!” and get close and then they’re talking in Spanish and they don’t talk in Spanish to me so anybody on Earth would know that they are addressing him but he just doesn’t bother to listen. Or, if he does half-listen but didn’t understand what they said, instead of saying, “I’m sorry I didn’t understand” he just won’t say anything and then I’ll be like “Luna was talking to you” and he snaps “I know. I didn’t understand.”

So, back to Britney. I read that she is active on Instagram. So, no shame here, I followed her. Reading her recent posts, I am seriously here yelling, “hell yeah sister! Let your voice come out!” And oh how it is! She’s not giving a fuck about what she says. The strength that it takes after the ridicule she’s gotten I realized now she wasn’t this hot mess-the- punch line everyone made her out to be. She was herself and we were just all taught to laugh at her.

So yeah I’m at this really weird phase and I feel like yeah I’m gonna let Britney empower me a little bit because she’s had things a whole fuck of a lot worse than I have and she’s finding her voice, right???? So yeah, I keep recording these videos and rambling too much and always feeling afterward that that’s not what I wanted to say or I shouldn’t have said it. I go into panic thinking I only have one chance and I have to say it all perfectly. I guess maybe this is me saying, “Hey there’s gonna be some weird shit and some rambling coming out of me for I don’t know how long” because yeah it’s lit’s like if you just took a bottle of champagne and shook it for 2 hours straight and then uncorked it.

Time to ramble, time to allow myself to say things the “wrong” way, time to just give myself the space to let my voice find its way back. Maybe 99% of what I say will be a mess but it’s OKAY. I’m believing that just getting it out, it will take me to the next step and to the next step. Wild guess that this is going to be ugly. Maybe sometimes it’ll be insightful-I hope so. Maybe sometimes it will be helpful- I also hope so. Maybe I’ll talk about Britney too much- I don’t even care. And maybe I’ll start talking about Women Who Run With the Wolves too much cause this book is blowing my fucking mind. And I’m only on chapter 3! Hahaha. I keep starting it over and highlighting my highlights.

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