The honest voice I once had known as a child has been buried under years of trauma and pain, and I’ve recently been discovering how deep that wound goes.
I affectionately remember the good ole days when I had a mouth that ran a mile a minute and had less tact than a sticky note.
As a teenager, it also became self-evident that my trauma there was piled on pretty thick as well. Nothing like a few years of heartbreak, depression, and social anxiety to make a girl feel like a total mute loser mess.
My voice felt faint and distant. The only times I remember hearing it was when I used my art to access it, but I spent my adolescent social interactions in awkward freeze outs with family members and played lots of passive aggressive games with friends instead of telling them how I felt.
The idea of telling the truth felt like social suicide. I was sure I’d be ruined if they knew how I really felt! I’d have no friends left and they all would hate me!
Needless to say, It’s been quite a scary ride to finding my voice of truth.
The semi-constant social stress of being myself around people has been a silent struggle of mine for a lot of years.
Nevermind childhood and being a teenager, the social mores of adulthood have been a tricky field to navigate too! Some days it feels as though I’m being squeezed into a mold, being conditioned in how to behave and speak as people want me too.
Evidence? “How are you?” A simple enough question…
But, with some skills in people watching, you can almost always guess what the answer will be without me even telling you. “I’m great/fine, thanks for asking!”
The empathetic ones among us know that 4 out of 5 times that answer is total bullshit.
I have given a phony answer to the “how are you?” question
a lot more times that I can count.
We don’t feel comfortable enough to say “actually I’m not doing too hot. My dad is really sick, and I’m super worried.” Or “man, it’s been rough. I am late on rent and I don’t know how I’ll pay it and I’m really stressing.”
I’m not saying that we need to tell everyone everything about us.
I’m saying that it’s good to be aware of where we omit the truth,
and what our motives are for doing so.
Are we trying to look good, or are we aiming for honesty and connection?
In any kind of creative expression, we artists are up against this daily – it’s par for the course. Finding our creative voice is kind of a big deal to us. It’s what makes us artists. It’s what makes us who we are. Lies and omitting truth rob us of the full creative power that lies within us.
The inner unfolding of our own voice through overcoming the need to lie or gloss over truth helps us to become more resilient to external attempts to be shushed.
Know yourself, know your voice, and you will know how to navigate this world with your integrity in check.