12/1/10

My voice...p.s.

Well, it's about 7pm and it just goes to show how quick I can stumble. All my big talk this morning and I lost my voice for about an hour tonight. That morning difficult communication did not go well and then got worse. I didn't accomplish anything good. It's as if I had no voice to accomplish anything good.

Holidays are hard all over, huh?

See ya round the net. Lane
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It's Way Back Wednesday again and there's only one story on my mind. It's a story of finding and using my voice.

I haven't always had a voice and I made up for it by being angry.

Okay, so that needs some explanation. I kept my mouth shut and kept my mouth shut and when I finally had enough or when my feelings were hurt enough, I erupted. Being a parent meant that had to change. I could not parent that way. Rob was old enough to understand that there was a meaning behind the words and for the most part, he would wait until the storm clouds passed and then talk to me about it. But, kids don't understand that. She saw what I did in the moment and she saw that as a viable way of handling conflict. After all, it was what she grew up around and didn't strike her as unusual.

I can remember one morning, when I had just had enough and I was in her face, letting her have it and I looked down into her big brown eyes and I knew. This is not right.

How could I expect her behavior to change so that she could fit in with us as a forever family if I couldn't change my behavior first. The best lessons are those taught by watching someone do it and that's what I set out to do.

From that day forward, I started trying to understand how that happened. Was it a chemical defect in my brain? Was it behavioral? Learned? Controllable? Mental illness?

And, as time passed, I started to learn about myself. And, I talked about it to Rob and to the therapist and I saw that what I was doing was just taking and taking and taking and then letting it out. It had to come out somehow. And, it came out as anger.

I started to look at my shyness and I saw that it was a protection. Better to say nothing and stand on the sidelines than to say the wrong thing and be embarrassed later. And, I started working on talking to people. Saying the wrong thing. Messing up. Apologizing. Rolling all around in the mess of being a person and interacting with other people. And, I found out that what I thought was a wrong thing was often quite funny and people liked it and they paused to give me a chance to participate in conversations. And, you guys gave me feedback that you liked what I had to say.

And I learned that I have a voice and people kinda like it.

Now, if you've followed me since I started this blog, then you might remember back in April of 2009 when I went to a business meeting and stood against the wall and didn't participate. Too shy. And, you'll remember in April or May of 2010 when I went to a similar business meeting and spoke into a microphone for the first time in my life. People wanted to hear what I had to say and even though my voice was growing, the room was bigger than my voice.

Yesterday, I was with several of the people from those meetings again for the day. It was their day to present, not mine; so I stood in the back and listened. But, during the breaks and meals, they sought me out to sit with. They wanted to shake my hand and talk to me. And, I wanted to, and was able to, do the same with them. No inability to find the words. Over the two years that I've worked with them, I've found my voice and they wanted to hear it.

So, this morning, when I was faced with a difficult communication opportunity, I fell into my old ways. I was angry and resentful and just about to say all the wrong things. And, then I sat at a sewing machine for about 15 minutes and remembered; I have a voice. And, I used my voice. And, I said what I needed to say. About me and how I feel. No need to be angry. No resentment. And, because it was all about me, it can never be the wrong thing.

So, how does this qualify as a Way Back Wednesday post? As I search my memory, I think I lost my voice at least 25 years ago, when I moved to Texas and found myself around people that were different than the people I grew up around. These people were direct and didn't beat around the bush. They said what they wanted and they expressed themselves without anger. They knew how to communicate.

And, now I've found my voice again, after many years of searching. And, I know how to communicate.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. Lane

5 comments:

Sunshine said...

Interesting Lane, I've gone through a similar change (keeping it in, resentful, angry) when I left my familiar/cultural surroundings! The change sneaks in over the years and takes quite a while to recognize and undo!

Becky said...

Wonderful story....and something we all could take a try at!

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

How brave of you to share this with us. I think we all use "angry" often as a cover for being afraid to say what we really think . I know I do at times.

This post was inspiring. You are an amazing example for Sydney.

Elizabeth said...

This is a wonderful thing. I have a hard time finding the right balance -- sticking up for myself and compromising because the world is not all about me. But I'd like to think it is. I'm kind of where you were two years ago. So my choices are to keep doing the same thing, or to change. Doing the same thing isn't working for me, so I guess I'll try change.

xo -El

lw said...

This could be my story. My kids sure hated that I wouldn't say anything about what was bugging me until I'd had enough and then I exploded. It was really unfair to them. I haven't completely found my voice, but I'm better than I was.