There are moments in life that just stick with you. They plaster themselves on the big screen in your mind and replay the scene for you at random times, sometimes years or decades later, usually on the tails of some epiphany or regret. This particular epiphany hit me out of nowhere and bruised me with a harsh dose of unexpected reality. The unconnected moments stringing their stories together before my eyes.
Lately, I’ve been reading numerous books on writing to usher me along my current path. While reading through a chapter on finding your writing voice, I was hit with a memory from nearly a decade ago. It was an important crisp spring day in Vancouver, Washington, and my son had just tied the knot. After listening to several great speeches, I choked on a handful of words that I had scraped together for the occasion. I’m sure that I was expected to say something wonderful and inspiring or welcoming to my new daughter-in-law, but instead, my underdeveloped words hung in the air like an unsightly stain. I saw the disappointment and disbelief on my son’s face and I still carry that disappointment with me daily.
I had not found my voice at that time. Over the years, I kept my voice safely at the surface where nothing ever happens, only grazing the top, only skimming off what can be seen on the surface– never delving to the depths of my soul. Perhaps, I was still scared to go beneath the surface and see my faults brewing below, just out of sight. If there is one thing I have been sure of in this life, it is that I was full of faults. I never understood why I was given such an awkward starter pack. The life tools I possessed were unhelpful at best.
The voice I’ve been accustomed to using for the past 40 years or so, was biting like my mom, chomping her teeth at me as though she could eat my flesh if she chose to. All my genuine voice could manage to do was spin around in the same dirty dishwater for years while it waited for me to find it. Even when I have found parts of my voice and managed to make it work at all, it would lock up at some point, my throat choking off my very words. I never realized that finding my voice would be the missing piece to finding my true self.
I’ve always found it easier to use my voice on paper. Only there can I share my acknowledgment of these mistakes, knowing that I deserved any bite ever received from my son for all my fumbles over the years. However, I am also blessed with his forgiveness for my mistakes throughout those parenting years. His love and acceptance has lead me to become a better person as well as giving me the courage to find my voice and the freedom to use it. My quest to find my voice has helped me bring up the fresher, deeper truths, like discovering rich fertile soil in the spring. Two unconnected moments meeting together, changing the layers of my life, opening doors that I have never had a key for, releasing my voice into the world.