When you lose your voice

This time of year always brings me to a place of reflection and quiet, and honestly  I know I’m not the only one, there is an entire industry that banks on those of us that want to put the current year to bed and start planning fresh the year to come.   But as I sit in my office (yes I am at work on Christmas Eve) I have a renewed sense of peace and I dare to say it, even purpose.  Slowly over the last month or so there has been a stirring in my soul, one that has been quietly whispering, “Sarah get off your a$$ and start writing again”, or “Sarah, it’s time to stop watching mindless TV and live your life again” and the loudest one “Sarah, there is more! Get up and find it.”  

It’s funny, it started small enough, I thought I would take a little time off from writing and regroup, find a direction, I felt as though I was mindlessly posting just for the sake of doing it, for the first time in my life I had run out of things to say.  And as small things allowed to go unchecked tend to do, it turned into a beast.  Writing became hard, and scary, and it made me question myself. Then it spilled over into the rest of my life, I stopped posting on IG, Facebook, Twitter…..I stopped reading, and then to my utter dismay I stopped talking to my husband, my rock, my partner in crime, the one that knows me so much better than I know myself. It’s hard to type “to my dismay”, like it was something that I was a victim of. I played my part, and allowed the silence to take over, some times I even wished for it, because it was easier than saying “hey, I think something might be wrong…..wrong with me, wrong with us, wrong with everything”, Oh yes it was far easier to sit quietly and fade into the paint than, work to be part of the conversation, part of the solution. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but as the weeks progressed, we spent many nights in total silence, him on his phone, me half watching the TV jealous of the time and attention he gave to the object in his hand.   I had lost my voice, and with that I had lost my identity and my way.

That’s the funny thing about it too, I say I lost my voice, when looking back I willingly gave it up, and not because someone asked for it, not even because they made me feel like I didn’t deserve to have it. I DID IT, and quite honestly I made myself feel like I didn’t matter, that my opinion had no merit, and my presence wasn’t needed.  And when that happens the nasty little guy in your head takes over, he tells you your worthless and ugly and fat, and all of the horrible insecurities about yourself are fair game to taunt and degrade you.  And sadly – you believe it.

So how does one get themselves out of the hole they have dug and comfortable shoved themself into?  I honestly don’t know, If I were one to think therapy helped I might have tried it, I’ve been on antidepressants before, when I quit smoking – they made me feel, half there, I would think its like someone that lacks the ability to emote, you take your social cues from the world around you and hope it’s the right response to the situation. Prayer, maybe lots of prayer, quite pleading each day “Lord please make it better” It must have started one day with a small gesture and has been moving glacially since. Steve and I took a trip. By ourselves. One where we were alone and had to talk to each other, about small things at first, “what do you want for dinner?”, “which park would you like to visit today?”, “we should take pictures in front of the big tree.” Then more meaningful, “the dogs are having issues”, “something is wrong with the oldest/youngest”, “you’ve been sad for a while, can I help you?”. Then even more slowly I started to reach out, to an old friend, a close family member and, build up a support group – a physical one that I could see and touch, one that would force me to move out of my comfort zone and would lovingly help me along, one that knew me and my quirks and would allow for awkward conversations until I built up to things that were real and meaningful. And even better, meaningless and amusing!  It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had road bumps, Threat of losing my job, Steve out of work, Awful heartbreak of the girls (both lost loves this year and both had to go through tough betrayals on top of it), I still internalize far more than I should, retreating to quiet and alone as my refuge, faster than I ever did running to a helpful ear.  But with all of that said, and threat of retreat at every corner. I am trying.  I am positively putting myself out there and I’m hoping the universe will smile and respond.

So as we move into the evening and the Christmas spirit surrounds us, I am thankful for the gifts of a patient and caring husband, oblivious teenagers that decided mom was moody and left her alone, and a infantessimally small but persistent voice, that whispered “there is more, go and find it”.

I wish you and your families a wonderful Holiday season and look forward to our new year to come.



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