Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I am participating in a writing workshop that is focused on finding your voice. Jess Morrow at Invincible Summer is doing a fantabulous job with our prompts, and since it's about finding our voice, we are beginning with our silence. This is my silence......

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to silencing myself. I have a “thing” about authority figures and when one speaks to me (or, God forbid, chastises or criticizes) I clam up….eyes lowered….afraid of the conflict…..certain I am to blame. Part of it is based on experience (like my first year of teaching when I was called into the principal’s office repeatedly because I sucked at classroom management…. at the beginning of the year, my “mentor”  handed me a box full of decorations, but no real help….and for two or three years after that, even when I wasn’t “in trouble” I had butterflies [not the good kind] whenever my department head, or anyone higher on the food chain, wanted to speak to me). Some of it is based on old wounds because I didn’t understand the words at the time (like when I was about 10-ish and was whining about one thing or another at bedtime….my father told me to “quit my bitching”….my 10 year old reasoning was pretty sure he had called me a “bitch”….). Some of it is due to a general lack of self-worth (no one wants to hear what I have to say) or my inner critic (your writing SUCKS BALLS!).

Believe it or not, I’m better than I used to be……

Today, I have better boundaries. I stand up for myself more often than not. I ask for what I need. I voice my opinions. I write my truth.

I’m better than I used to be….with a row to hoe still ahead of me.

I’m a work in progress. I’ll be perfect when I’m dead.

Who silences you? What silences you? If you are feeling silenced, how can you get your voice back?

Have you been there?


  1. Growing up in an alcoholic home kept me silent throughout most of my adult life.  Until about age 35 I found my voice, and then perimenopause only exacerbated that voice. Now I can’t shut up! *LOL*
    I’m always under construction. *S*

  2. Claire, like you I have a problem with authority figures - mine comes from the culture of 'children should be seen and not heard' comblined with a very angry mother who seemed to blame me for everything (I was the eldest of three children and from the age of four was always in the wrong) so I never felt that I was good enough or important.  I carry this with me and, again, like you,  worry that everything I do and say is wrong.  This showed up in my job as a nurse - magnified by a bullying charge nurse - so I eneded up not talking to my patients for fear of saying the wrong thing or of just generally 'getting it wrong'.  So, now that I want to write, I have the combination of 'what do I have to say that is of any importance?', 'who would want to hear anything I have to say? and 'will my writing be good enough?'  But I'm going for it anyway - in the form of a blog.  I'm trying to understand that if I've been through it then someone else probably has too and might gain something from knowing that there is someone who understands their pain.  And if there's not, then at least I'm speaking my truth - something which I haven't ever done before - and now I've started, there's no stopping me!

  3. Completely get it - been there, still there.  All about "pleasing" the authority figure for me.  But, they say the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem.  So here we are. Working on it, acknowledging it and sometimes getting past the fear of "displeasing" authority and making my voice heard. Overcoming the fear comes and goes. Being human is constant.  I'm also a work in progress.  Rock on. . . .

  4. I'm generally quite a quiet person, not somebody who does small talk well. If there's something I need to voice, I usually end up taking a deep breath and saying it. Which is difficult and takes me a while to actually go ahead and voice it, but I've got a fairly good (not perfect) track record of saying the things I believe I should.
    Deep breathing to calm yourself. Being in a situation where you don't have eye contact (i.e., when you're standing beside somebody) helps too. 

  5. oh yes, I've been there. I still fight against it on a daily basis, though now I AM fighting it.  I grew up in a... less than stellar... home and went to an abusive marriage for related reasons, and the internal tapes of "that's wrong, you're wrong, just shut up already, no one wants to hear what you have to say, way to humiliate yourself - you know you're just going to show everyone how stupid you are" etc are really difficult to turn off.  I absolutely am my own worst critic, from the days when if I said it first maybe they wouldn't be so mad.  It's HARD to go ahead and do/say it anyway.  Bless the friends who always wanted to hear what I thought and had time for even random thoughts.  Their valuing me and my thoughts gave the strength and courage to start valuing myself.  Now I can always rely on knowing that even if I do say something wrong they'll still love me, so it's okay to speak up.  It's odd how freeing that is.


Yes! I've been there, Claire!