This post brought to you by a Story Sessions prompt. "When (and how) did you find your voice? And if you haven't yet, what do you think it's going to take to find it?"
My voice is playful. Caught up in this never-ending game of hide and seek. The first time I found her, I was 13, bored out of my mind in school, She showed up in elaborate stories where the heroine was always rich with an older brother to protect her, a boyfriend who loved her and her parents were no where to be found.
I started high school the next year and my voice went back into hiding, intimidated by the creativity of my peers and overwhelmed by life. I'd catch glimpses of her as she moved from one hiding place to the next. But I never could quite catch her.
This past Spring I took Story 101. Instead of chasing my voice, I sat down and created a space for her. I listened to her, saw her need to run, to be a little wild. She didn't want to be caught and forced to write on straight lines, words lined up like little soldiers. She loves the freedom of ink spilling across a page and the smell of a new journal. She wants to write in half thoughts and run on sentences that we come back to later to clean up, or not as the case often seems to be. She creates in shapes and spirals that circle around the blank page.
I'm still finding layers of my voice. My voice is more than just playful. Her whispers are powerful. They shake tears from my eyes. They scatter truth as they fall.
Finding my voice is tied into finding me. The me still trapped under the layers of rubble.
I found part of my voice the very first time I introduced myself in a 12 step meeting. I found it sitting in a circle every week, whispering truths through tears.
I found my voice every time I put pen to paper, jotting down the phrases and sentences that ran in my head and captured me.
I found my voice at the top of a hill, screaming at a God I could no longer understand.
I found my voice in darkness, when mental illness swallowed me whole, chewed me down and spat out what was left.
My voice found me as I learned to say yes to things like leadership and E-courses. She found me as I wrote and spoke through my fears and inadequacies. She found me through thousands of journalled pages and therapy work books.
It turns out in that game of hide and seek, I was the one hiding and she was the one seeking me.