I struggle with my command of our oral language when it really matters. As an English Literature graduate I could write all day about my feelings, but when it comes to speaking about them I am reduced to drivel. What I say very often won’t make sense even to me. I am not sure why this is but I could hazard a guess that it is because I never learnt to talk about my feelings when I was a child. I wrote a lot about them, mostly through stories, but I never shared them out loud. I think I was about 7 years old when I remember feeling sadness and immediately knowing I had to hide it. The times we lived in perhaps. Certainly now I encourage my daughter to talk to me about any and every emotion. Especially anger and sadness. The difficult ones.
And through her, I am learning to talk about my feelings. Not in great outbursts which can often be too overwhelming for the poor recipient; but in little snippets here and there to different people. Trusted people. People whom I hope won’t judge me or punish me for speaking the truth. I am building a strong support network which remains forever in flux. Organically evolving with every moment that passes. New people come in and existing people leave. Unbeknownst to them. My heart decides and I am learning to follow her lead.
When I am speaking from my heart, I am vulnerable and sensitive to the slightest criticism. It feels like an attempt to silence the essence of me. The voice I use will sound strong and bold but behind it is a frightened little girl who never worked out how to share her feelings with anyone. And is fearlessly trying to do so now.
This week my mind and my heart have been censored. The first came when I was asked to speak at a panel event some months ago, I promoted it and worked with the organisers to ensure their material was up to date and the panel would have a good discussion. I was told yesterday that despite all this effort on my part, I would have to be removed from the panel because another member of the panel was unhappy with the fact I ran a business in direct competition to him. This man had sponsored events with the organisers and therefore got to choose who appeared. I was pretty angry at being silenced in this way. Especially as what I had to bring to the debate was my knowledge of much wider issues.
But that censorship of my mind was nothing compared to the censorship of my heart twice this morning by two people in my trusted group. The first friend told me via text message not to use so many exclamations because it felt like he was being told off. The second friend that my response to his problem felt like an inhumane attack. Both attempts to alter or censor the language of my heart sent a very physical pain through my body and left me feeling confused and alone.
I know I am not alone. There are other people in my support network whom I can talk to. And perhaps at this time or at another they will try to censor me too. I cannot know for sure. All I can do is follow my heart and decide who is worth keeping …