I remember the first voice that inspired me, I was 11 years old. My mom’s best friend was Betty. She was so beautiful in a Natalie Wood way. But the real beauty was inside. She was the first I remember who told me “I could”. With her I felt valued and special. We baked together, I helped with her kids, at was at her home daily.
It was not so much what she said as it was her actions. Even though she had young children of her own she made time for me. Did she know how much I needed her? Did she see the want in my eyes?
When I was 15 she moved away with her husband and children and I missed her terribly. My mom let me read the letters she sent telling so vividly the story of her new life. I felt as if I was there……
Early on Christmas morning when I was in Church and she came to my mind. I did not know why but I had an uncomfortable feeling as if something was not quite right. I walked home thinking of her and when I entered my house I found my mom crying. I was told that Betty had died as she dressed for midnight mass. A blood clot burst in her head. She was 33 with 4 young children.
She was in my life such a short time really, yet all these years later she still holds such a special place in my heart. I don’t know if she ever knew what an inspiration she was to me. She was the first step in a long journey of me finding my voice. The first petal on the blossom yet to bloom.
We have the power to be that inspiration for each other……whose voice inspired you? Who did you inspire?
I hear the faint male voice speaking, my eyes shut tight, someone was prying them open. “She was lucky, the knife missed her heart by 1/4 of an inch” he seemed to be saying. Reluctantly, briefly, the scene came into view, overhead fluorescent lights, too bright, turn them off please, they are hurting my eyes. Machines whirring, beeping, someone was turning me on my side, the pain searing through me as if I was on fire. Doctors, and nurses in green paper gowns leaning over my body. I turn my head, I want them to leave me alone. I notice the sheet is red, blood, my blood? The nurse is moving me, I try to grab him, stop, please, it hurts too much. Darkness…
An excerpt from my soon to be published book, encourages women involved in an abusive relationship to seek help, to reach out to all the resources available to you. Don’t wait until something like the story above happens to you.. you may not be as lucky as I was.
Today I was thinking of all the little ways we lose our voice, or never gain it almost without notice. The times we are given dismissive answers by our doctor and we let that white coat keep us from speaking up. When did that happen? When did an “authority” figure make us think our own gut, our own thoughts didn’t matter? We stopped or never started questioning what we were being told.
There are a million little ways that the messaging is given. From the time we are children messages that our voices don’t matter. Look at the fairy tales. We are always saved by a man and we are asleep or silent when it happens…like really we can’t save ourselves ever or at least yell and scream for rescue?
What do you think? Can you find the small moments that keep you from your voice?
If I had known how to embrace my voice back then, if I had known self-confidence, been taught that I was worthy of love, respect and honor.. I would have left the first time he hit me. I would have walked out the door the first time he ridiculed me, or the first time I caught him hiding a woman in my closet.
I would have told my mother the first time he touched me. I wouldn’t have listened to his lies.
I wouldn’t have married the next guy just because he seemed nice. If I had known my own strength and power, I would have left him the first time he called my child a name. I would not have stayed so long with a man who couldn’t hug my child, smile at them, say a kind word. I would not have tried to tell myself that it was me.. I was unrealistic for expecting a man to have the same ambition as I, to have an interest in world events, in learning, growing.
Yes, if only I had known how to embrace my voice back then, I would never have stayed so long. I would know as I do today, that I deserve all that. I deserve love, honor, respect, trust.
So do you.
I am not saying that we know all the steps to make women successful.. emotionally, in our families, our work, our daily lives. But I do believe that due to our experiences, our escape from incest, abuse, we have much to offer.
Our goal is to begin a community of women, who have found their voice or who are seeking to, that will share, educate, give back.
Your voice is “who you are”, the real you, your inner core. Learning how to recognize that voice, and follow it, is not always easy.
Many times we stay in relationships longer than we should, we forget that we should be respected and honored at all times. We listen to our own internal self-talk whispering, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”, “He might get mad”, “I am too thin”, “too fat”, “too ugly” etc etc.
We let the past direct our future. We hold on to past hurts, traumas as though they are a prize possession. We allow the anger, resentment and disappointment to cloud our lives, to restrict moving forward.
Our wish for women is that we Embrace the strong women that we are. That we use our voices to stand up for ourselves, to honor ourselves, to toss away the hurts of the past and live for today and tomorrow!
We decided to change from a website to a blog so that all your voices can be heard. To embrace your voice we must share our voices and learn and grow together. All of our experiences shared are steps in the journey to heal ourselves and others. Where are you in the journey of finding your voice?