Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Caged Bird

There were two revealing conversations that occurred this past week that hit close to home for me.  One in particular, because it had to do with someone very close.  While I cannot speak for them, I can speak for myself.  I debated bringing it up, because its not a subject that is easy to read, much less write.  But frankly, I'm a bit tired of that being the case.  Plus, I found out something so important for me personally through trying to avoid the subject that I can't let the opportunity go by to not express it.  I have learned it is better to embrace all that life offers, which includes all the thoughts and feelings I may have in response to it...good, bad, or indifferent.  I do not shy away, or recoil from the seemingly "bad", (as someone so aptly put it recently).  I embrace it instead as a part of life, my life.  I have found life to be more authentic in that practice.  And, the very act of judging a thing in myself as bad tends to cause more problems than if I simply accept it, deal with it, cry at my party if I have to, then move on. 

In the past week I have come across a lot of talk regarding regrets, on the internet, random conversations in daily life, etc.  I found myself irritated, and missed the signs of the Universe letting me know what was on its way.  I have only one regret.  But its a regret that I couldn't do much about anyway, given it involved the choice of another as well, so I chose to let it sleep.  I didn't know the one regret I had would rear its ugly little head the other night for me to take a look at again.  It was evoked, brought to life again, during one of the conversations I mentioned in the beginning of this post.  Thoughts like, "If only....then this wouldn't have happened.  Things would have turned out differently."  With those thoughts, for me anyway, comes a temptation to point an accusing finger, either at myself or another.  I give the finger instead to the accusing finger.

The journey to writing has been long and arduous for me.  I have fought with it and myself for as long as I can remember.  My issue has had more to do with letting myself express, giving myself a voice.  The root of the problem going way back to childhood when a man told me if I revealed what he was doing to me, then he would kill me and my mother.  Then, to show me he meant business, he killed an animal in front of me to show me how he would do it.  I was 5 years old.  I believed him, and learned to keep my mouth shut...not uttering a word.  And that was just the beginning of my experiences with that kind of thing until the final one being when I was 18.  The common denominator with all of those experiences being to keep silent. 

One day I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, and I found in her a kindred spirit, and an inspiration.  My first dream was to be a singer.  I sang the Blues.  Although I'd written in journals now and then since I was young, I found singing and drawing a bit safer, because through those mediums I didn't have to worry so much about letting something slip accidentally, living under the veil of secrets and shame like I was.

It was when I was in college that teachers began voicing to me that I really needed to become a writer.  I had one teacher practically beg me.  I disregarded it, although the seed was planted, and didn't begin breaking ground until God found me on a porch almost 20 years ago.  Thus began my relationship with Him, mainly through writing.  For the first time in my life I gave myself a voice through the written word.  Although I didn't realize it until later, I was setting myself free on the page in my conversations with God.  I didn't know where God was leading me, and I certainly didn't know it would lead here, to a public venue.  Good thing I didn't know.  Its why I'm big on not needing to know my future.  Presently present is just fine with me.  As it is, I've had to be dragged kicking and screaming to get to this point.  Seriously, you wouldn't believe the dragons in my head I've had to slay.  

I wrote almost every single day for over a decade.  It was so much a part of me and my life I couldn't imagine life without it.  Until one day I found I couldn't write anymore.  I thought I'd die, much like I think I'd feel if I lost my daughter.  It was almost two years before I could begin writing again, and only after my marriage was over.  Honestly, I didn't see the connection between my past, and what was occurring within my marriage, that brought about the dry spell.  It was an abusive relationship, full of secrets to be kept, so as not to shame the one abusing,.  I carried the shame instead, and lived once again under a veil of secrets and isolation, feeling humiliated, my voice disappearing.  I felt like a caged bird wearing a muzzle.  A hum being the only safe expression.

In light of these recent conversations with the two people I mentioned, the blow hit so close to home I found myself identifying with it.  In identifying with it I saw myself, as if I'd been lifted to see me in action from within, go to withdraw, recoil, everything in me.  My response being to close up shop, to fold up, give up, and silence my voice.  My fault, my fault....if only...

I struggled.

Then in came a reminder, a ray of light, and like an arrow it pointed to the direction I needed to take.  Its what I'm all about, what I have striven to do from the moment I made the decision the first time to climb out of the mud of shame, and out from under the veil of secrets.  I will live my life fully, giving myself freedom to express, freedom to feel my life, freedom to sing whatever song I wish. 

I made a claim, a decision with the creation of this blog, that I was putting self consciousness aside.  I see the resurrection of this regret which I found tied to the distant past, and in looking at it with a different view, a step in that direction because of what it eventually revealed to me.  All my self consciousness stemmed from that point.  Self consciousness born of the fear of expression...the fear of revealing.  Fear of moving.  Fear of breathing.  Fear of living. 

Now I know how I lost my voice, my expression, what animates me, in the long ago, and in the recent past.  Now I know, and it will not happen again.

I once said that hate's purpose is to silence.  I will not be a victim to it anymore.  The cage door has now been opened, and with wings spread as far as they will go, I fly free through it, singing, doing loopty loops in the air, gliding to land on a tree filled with diamonds, now blended with all there is.



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