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’?
- Emotional Release Series: Creating A Vulnerable Space and Time (optimizedindividuals.com)