Freeing my voice

I have, for most of my life, been a compliant person.  Saying “Yes” was the norm for me to please others, and to make sure that I received affirmation and acknowledgement.   My boundaries were selective and I very rarely said “No”.  I didn’t use my ‘voice’ and express myself.

This week has been a strange time for me.  I am in a very vulnerable, emotional state and this isn’t always a pleasant place to be.  However, I am learning that when I am this way, then there is some learning going on and I need to be fully aware of what is happening.

On Wednesday, I was feeling incredibly oppressed; major headache, unable to communicate clearly, wanted to sit in a corner and be left alone.  Part of my current internship involved me attending a performance workshop!  It centered around movement.  There were 7 of us altogether, including the facilitator: 2 women, 6 men.  It started off OK with warm up exercises, and then it went downhill for me from there.  In pairs, one person being a sounder and the other the mover, we had to make sounds and the other had to express that sound in body movement.  To hear my voice, my sounds, was hard.  I made little sounds, quiet ones, whispers – so quiet in fact that the other person working with me couldn’t hear me sometimes.  Then, when we changed over I became the mover, I had two clay feet and chains on my arms.  I felt exposed, vulnerable, a fool, embarrassed and I was hating every minute of it.

Then, the facilitator called us together to do a group exercise.  Once he had explained it, he asked if anyone had any questions.  I found myself speaking out “Can I please leave?  I really can’t continue with this.”  I perceived people’s embarrassment, judgement, exasperation.  Everything inside me was churning.

“I should be staying and pushing through this; even if I don’t like what I am doing I have to continue” – this was the internal battle I was facing.  After all, my default was to ‘soldier on’.   I hated myself for not keeping going, yet I was angry to the point of tears.

I left the room, aware of all the eyes on me.  Sitting in the car outside I just let the emotions comes.  After a long time, I recognised what I had actually done.  I had said “No” when my default would have been to push down those personal feelings – to self-sacrifice myself.   Wow!  Feeling proud in my achievement didn’t immediately come to me, but after a while, as my immediate feelings subsided I began to sense that a major step had been made.

I cannot say that I felt good from that time on.  I have been left feeling incredibly raw and sensitive – so emotional that one thought I had the other morning just brought me to tears.  It’s been a bit like that ever since.  Yet I know that this is good, and I can learn from this and build on it.

I am freeing my voice, after nearly 50 yrs.

What’s your story?  

How good are your boundaries?  

How have you overcome your ‘voicelessness’?

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About katehobbs

Mother to two who are now independant and living away from home. Wife to Steve, for the last 26yrs and looking forward to many more years. I have enjoyed 18 months in the Okanagan, something that I have longed to have the opportunity to do for a while. Living a dream, you could say. Now, I am interning with Living Waters Canada based in Vancouver until end of April 2013. I love to grow my own food - it tastes so much better. I also build up, train and encourage others to achieve more than they thought possible.
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13 Responses to Freeing my voice

  1. Oh how i understand!! Wonderful that you said no! You would feel raw and vulnerable as it’s completely new and foreign to you. Maybe there’s even a bit of guilt attached?

  2. Being true to your self is a great thing, and it rarely matters what othes think in the long term. In the past I have been a staff union rep, and people would come to me with problems, like say a bullying boss. I would encourage them to be true to themselves, which would normally mean telling thier boss that they didn’t like the behaviour and they should stop. Once one person spoke out truth, there were normally a few others who had felt alone and unable to do anything, until the first person was brave enough to be true about what they felt. Change would normally follow! It’s awkward yes, vulnerable yes, outside of our comfort zone yes, but liberating. Well done, we are all on a journey.

    • katehobbs says:

      Thank you Roger. I understand that this workshop affected others in the group and many were aware of tenderness as well. I don’t think you can ever place a finger on what actually happened to move us to this state, but it doesn’t matter. Acknowledging we are there is so important.
      I agree with your observation that so often people are wanting to speak out but are afraid to. It only takes one person……. We can be that one person…..

  3. Susan Bradley says:

    thank you for sharing, Kate. I have always appreciated your strength, but feel priviledged to hear you share about your vulnerability and how you walked through it. I can relate to wanting to “rush out of the raw state” to a more comfortable place. Would love to hear more as you move through this. God Bless!

    • katehobbs says:

      Still in a raw state. Probably will be until I get to the UK and see the kids. I think this trip is also adding to the emotions. Had a memory of our time in the sun at Skaha and also a memory of picking cherries at Ulpu’s and just burst into tears. Very tender times.

  4. Jude says:

    Kate we are all such different individuals, marching, limping, tiptoeing, ambling, or dragging our feet to a different drummer. The secret is to be true to ourselves. For some it seems to be simple, for others it takes years to accept what we naturally are – and be proud of it. I love the saying: ‘The penalty for trying to be what others want you to be is that everyone likes you but yourself.’ You should feel so proud to have exited stage left from that room! Good on you! It wasn’t your thing. Just keep following your heart and your instincts, and sod the rest of the world! Hugs.

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