I’ve been thinking a lot about Voice…as a metaphor, as an act, as a unique expression of oneself.
Every time I sit down to write, my voice sounds different as the words fly from my fingers. While I sense my voice is different, I imagine those of you reading my posts on any regular basis feel I have a ‘voice’ you recognize as different from any other…or maybe not. As I consider that, I wonder if it matters. What does really matter when it comes to speaking that which must be said?
Just yesterday, my dear friend Jeanne wrote, in her blog the barefoot heart, about voice and her experiences finding hers. I love Jeanne’s voice. It is unmistakeably hers.. Jeanne writes that she wonders what her ‘right sound’ is:
“do i forget funny and stick to serious, reflective tones? do i keep trying the funny, knowing that writing humor is different from doing humor? do i do both ’cause i am both?”
Jeanne’s words struck a chord within me. I am becoming more confident in my writing. Same as with Jeanne, much of that confidence I owe to the women I have met on Twitter that have embraced me and my Voice with such love and support. I notice that my voice can change from serious, spiritual, funny, loving, and sometimes powerful and intuitive. Sometimes I write sludge (feels and sounds a lot like internal processing on the page, something the roommate in the head likes to sell) …sometimes clarity and truth.
Writing is an interesting practice. And I know I don’t even know what will come out when I sit down to write. I can try to force things, but that never feels right.
Writing from my body helps. My body speaks truth, as do all bodies. If I remember to drop down into the body, truth flows.
And there’s still fear present when I write.
What’s the fear about?
For me, the fear is not so much if others don’t like my style or writing abilities. The fear is about the repercussions I might face if I write what is deepest in my heart, some of which is:
- the beauty and sacredness of the female gender and the sacredness of our sexuality and female bodies
- the possibility for women to discover that they are the sacred feminine, and for men to discover they are the sacred masculine
- the devaluation of women and girls and the violence perpetrated on the female gender
- the constant bombardment of demoralizng images, messages, interactions that women and girls face in their day-to-day lives, meant to keep us dis-empowered and depressed
- the pain that men feel as the dominant gender where the effects of patriarchy still hold sway
- the absolute importance and necessity of healing our mother wounds, and the wounding of the Big Mother, our divine planet
- AND the vision I see of the way things could be if we realize, before its too late, that we are all really divine in human clothing.
And the fear comes from simply speaking out as an act in itself. As Miriam Greenspan writes in Healing Through The Dark Emotions:
Fear for women is not an enemy to be conquered but a warning track that says: Go no further. It is the demarcation line that points to the bounds of possibility and permissible female behavior. If you’re a woman and you don’t use fear to limit yourself, there is an implicit threat of violence.”
In her post, Brené writes about two friends and how they were attacked after writing opinion pieces in public forums. She offers up 8 points of advice to women who are speaking out, in hopes we can avoid the kind of attack her two friends encountered. Make sure to read her full post to reap the benefits of her great advice.
“In my own decade-long research on authenticity and shame, I found that speaking out is a major shame trigger for women.
I can see Brené’s words clearly in my own conditioning and know these powerful forms of conditioned control have played a part in my journey to becoming a writer that can and will speak that which has to be spoken.
The main reason I’ve posted this today, is to speak to what I think is an important community of collaboration and support for the feminine voice to be heard: social media networks – Twitter, Facebook and whatever else you might find that helps you connect to other women that are heading the call to stand up and speak out in these times when it is critical for women’s voices to be heard.
Creating community to speak and listen, is imperative. To have a vehicle for women’s stories to be spoken and heard is critical. Women speaking out is what is being called for right now. Women supporting other women is what is being asked of us right now.
As Jeanne wrote yesterday,
“see, usually i’m a little too tentative, too scared of smackdown to post anything i feel like isn’t going to be well received. but since being on twitter, i’ve met women who make me feel comfortable enough, safe enough to mash “send” because i know they’ll be patient and accepting…”
When I read Jeanne’s words, I felt this connection, this witnessing of story, of voice, of truth by one woman to another. This is where we find power. I saw myself in Jeanne, saw my own struggle to stand up, to speak out, and to know, while doing so, that I am part of a family of women.
One small point here that is of utmost importance: Not all women are supportive of this. Many men are. Brené comments on this, too, saying: “Don’t blame men. Men are as likely to be offended by cruelty as women, and women are as likely to perpetrate it as men.” I have found so many deeply honoring and supportive men on Twitter and Facebook, men who write to me expressing joy and respect for the words I write. And, I’ve had women deride me for the same words.
This point is important, AND there is something that needs to happen by women coming together, to tell their stories aloud, to witness and honor, to hold each other in reverence and awe, to see the sacred face of the divine in each other’s femaleness, wisdom and pain.
You see, I could have picked any one of my village of women – Jeanne just happened to write something yesterday that sparked something in me. I was so taken by her words, by what was happening inside her, and I value being witness to the stories she writes about her heart, her life and her wisdom, just as I value these very things that are born from all women. This is one of the most creative aspects of having a village. We are connected. We witness. Our hearts can break open by empathizing with the other as she unfolds her sacredness onto the page.
So, here are some ideas to hold as you speak up and out.
- Just start. Write. To yourself, to others, on a blog, in a journal, by letter, anywhere you can write, just write. Let the fire in you find its way out onto the page.
- Write and speak from the body. It doesn’t lie. write/speak from your instincts. your intuition.. (check out the book, Writing From the Body, if you want to know more about this.)
- Trust that your voice will emerge if you just write the words that want to be written. Know that your voice will change, will flow, will find its own way. Your genius will emerge. It wants to be heard.
- Know that not everyone will agree, and not everyone will find your words meaningful.
- Find your village of women to support you. Search the social media halls for women who have a penchant for topics your voice likes. Reach out to them. Read their words, and if they truly resonate with you, comment, friend and follow them.
- Know that you don’t always have to agree with your village in order to support their work. What if we women stood by each other, in solidarity, simply because we know and understand how hard this process is and how important it is each woman be heard. We’ve all been conditioned to the hilt. What if we stopped judging each other’s conditiong, and held each other as the powerful woman we know she is?
- Hold the paradox of being in community and learning the ‘way of surrender is about remaining vulnerable and finding the power of no-protection” (Miriam Greenspan). At some point, we all must find the place of balance between the two, somewhere on the continuum that works for you.
I share from my own experience. I’d love to know what has helped you.
As I open to this paradox, of knowing I have my village of women, and knowing the power of no-protection, I find truth finding its way.