What Is Your Voice Telling You?

Well, I must say, I didn’t expect to get the reaction I did from yesterday’s post. Not that all of you aren’t entitled to your opinion, because you are. And any and all opinions are welcome on my comment board (as long as you’re not using it to slam someone else). I consider constructive criticism to be a good thing, because personally I don’t want to live in a world where everyone always agrees with me, because I’m not always right. You don’t learn or take steps needed to grow when everyone is kissing your ass and telling you what you want to hear now, do ya? Just look at politicians. Ouch!! I wonder how they’re going to feel when they finally have to answer to someone more powerful than them. See ya…wouldn’t want ta be ya! And of course, if I didn’t want your honest opinion I wouldn’t have asked for it.

I have to admit though, something occurred to me after reading them that bothered me, and I thought I would bring that up today. The thought that many of us are still trapped in our old belief’s system, and I’m not the only one. The reason I say this is because the only answer I really should’ve received from anyone is that I should do whatever I need to in order to make myself well. And though I would never share anther’s secrets without damn good cause, these are mine and I should be entitled to do with them as I wish, and whatever I deem necessary for myself to get better. Now granted, this one is slight compared to some, but you have to start somewhere, and I have a long list of taboo secrets I keep inside. It’s called baby steps.

I am very sincere about honoring the memory of those I love that have passed, and do. I’ve lost both my parents, my brother, friends too numerous to mention, and of course my very best friend, Beth. I loved them all in life and love them still. I would never share their secrets, although some spill over into mine, and I’m forced to ride the rail on that. The question is: How long do you have to keep protecting another at the expense of your own well-being? While they’re alive to spare their feelings? After they’re gone to honor their memory? When is it okay to finally speak up, shed shame, anger, pain, and deal with the things that must be dealt with? If we continue to believe that we have to protect everyone else–including their memory–we never will. Just think about that.

I’m going to share with you a couple of secrets I was forced to carry. One was that I was messed with as a child by an older family member. I know it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been a forceful physical assault, there was no penetration involved, but it damaged me just the same. It made me question my sexuality, if there was something wrong with me in that I’d somehow asked for it, made me fearful of others intentions when they wanted to get close to me, and still occurs in my adulthood sometimes when I’m getting intimate with my husband in the way of nausea and  that somethings-not-right feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have taboo spots at certain times that can’t be touched. It damaged me emotionally. The thing is, I carried this dirty little secret all by myself for years. I didn’t want to cause problems in the family. I didn’t want to embarrass my parents or siblings. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, so I allowed myself to stay hurt. The first person I shared it with was my step-niece who was a couple of years younger than me that I was very close to. I believe I was in my early twenties by then. Both of my parents died never knowing this secret or having to deal with the shame. My father as recent as seven years ago. That’s a long fucking time to keep that kind of a secret, don’t you think?

Another was I was told at about 11 or 12 years old that I was a bastard child of an affair my mother had. That this was the reason I was so much younger and didn’t look like anyone in my family. At the time I was told this, I was also told that if I mentioned this to my father it would cause a divorce. Now before any of you think that this was someone’s idea of a sick joke and completely ridiculous, let me assure you that it wasn’t and isn’t. There was a point in our family when my father got hurt and the physical damage it caused affected his mind for a time. My mother had five children, a husband that she could not lean on emotionally, was strained, and there was a man in our families life that was close to my mother and there for her emotionally. He was my father’s best friend. He would die in an accident when I was ten years old, and journals found among his other belongings would state that I was his child. I questioned my mother, and the only answer she would give me time and time again was that the father I knew was my dad. I knew something wasn’t right though. A person faced with an accusal like that becomes angry. My mother didn’t look angry as much as she did scared when I would talk about it.

The thing is  I spent my entire childhood pretending I knew nothing and trying to keep it hush-hush because I was so fearful that my daddy would hear, it would hurt him, maybe he wouldn’t love me anymore, and it would break up our family. I still don’t know how he managed not to, the whispers were everywhere the entire time I was growing up. This single event I believe is the reason that I’ve never felt I fit in anywhere or belonged. I had a nervous breakdown that left me with a panic disorder approximately six years after my mother passed away. Not due to just this, but everything including a shitty marriage I was in. During therapy was when I was told I needed to talk to my father and finally did. He was remarried by that time, and I sat in the cramped kitchen of the home I grew up in, the very place I was forced to keep secrets, and I had to tell my father that I didn’t think I was his child through a wave of emotion and tears. Thinking about that moment I can’t control the ones sliding down my face even now. Bless his heart, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me it wouldn’t matter one way or the other, I was his daughter, I’d always been his daughter, and I would always be his daughter. He did say though, knowing this now explained a lot. Strangely, my relationship with my dad changed after that for the better. He’d always been very unemotional and distant while I was growing up and I’d never felt close to him. In fact, it was about as close as having a distant uncle. After that though he hugged me and would kiss me. He would tell me he loved me. Maybe not to the degree that some of us are affectionate, but enough that I felt loved and wanted for the first time in my whole damn life.

I think he knew how important it had become to me that I know the truth and finally be able to put it to rest, and even offered to take a DNA test with me. Honestly, I wanted to, but felt that I’d caused him enough pain and didn’t want to put him through more. My father died never knowing the truth, and to this day neither do I. Well, I guess that’s not completely true. This man had blue eyes, fair skin, fair hair, and certain features that distinguished him. To look at the picture on the laminated obituary card I now have it’s like looking in a mirror. Perhaps not when I was young, but now I am approximately the same age he was when he passed, and the resemblance is startling. He loved words, wrote faithfully in journals, indulged in poetry. To a degree that it was not something he toyed with, but rather was a need he had to write, something he had no control over, much like myself. No one else in my family shares this. I know the truth. A test will only validate what is already obvious.

Now ask yourselves, was it right that I carried those things to shield others from what I thought would be shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and pain? Was I really responsible for keeping those secrets that were not of my own doing, but rather forced upon me. And if the answer is no, then you have to look at the broader picture and recognize that secrets come in all shapes and sizes, they are slight and monstrous, but if any of them make you uncomfortable for keeping them, that means they’re not good for you, and you have a responsibility to yourself to let them go. We are all born with and carry that little voice inside that tells us what is good or bad, right or wrong. Some call it gut instinct. Some consider it a divine gift from God. I see it as both. If we listen to it, it will give us discretion when needed, help us judge others to keep ourselves from harm, show us what our life calling is, etc. This little voice is unique to each of us.

I’m starting to pay attention to mine. If it fails me, then at least I can say I only have myself to blame. I’ve proven that today, because these secrets I just shared with you are still not common knowledge to everyone. Well, I guess they are after today. I’m ready to start listening to my voice. Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what your voice is telling you.