You’re got to feel to heal. That’s not what my therapist said, but that’s how I paraphrased it, and it’s now my go-to “trite” saying. I don’t remember what she actually said nor do I even remember the context. But that sums it up quite nicely nonetheless.
It turns out that I am very empathetic. I had no idea because I’ve spend my whole life shutting down at the first sign of a negative emotion. Of course I would somewhat do that for positive emotions also because that’s how stuffing, suppressing, and numbing work. It’s an all-or-nothing effect. It is impossible to selectively numb.
I emotionally triggered several times over the last semester. It started with my therapist. She asked me something, and I can’t really explain what all happened. It seemed to get horrendously hot, and I couldn’t answer her. I could not get any words to form in my head let alone to come out of my mouth, but I had a vision of sorts. Anyway, this was followed by a series of triggering assignments and activities across multiple classes at school. Not to mention more than a few of the talks at The Courage Conference. (The Conference triggering was anticipated.)
A few months ago, I had a Twitter conversation with Doug Bursch, and he said something to me that no one else ever has. He gave me permission to have a voice. “You have a right to your voice.”
You have a right to your voice. I struggle with this in me, how to contend for what I am truly passionate about. Sometimes I feel people do not extend me the same acceptance I extend them.
— Doug Bursch (@fairlyspiritual) June 6, 2018
Those words of validation breath life into someone whose voice has been silenced their whole life through abuse. And it took me a few days for it to fully settle in. I still struggle a whole lot with my voice because decades of being silenced through force or just being dismissed has left a lot of stuffed anger. I want to lash out with all the same venom that was injected into me. I was telling my therapist one night about how uptight I get when I engage in discussing/arguing on social media with this rush of adrenaline. She asked me why I thought I would have that reaction. Well, it’s because I wasn’t allowed to have a voice or an opinion and had to stuff for fear of a beating, or worse, berating.
I started this post 2.5 months ago. There was a point I was working up to but I haven’t written any on it in over a month, and so who knows what it was. But I recall having some sort of epiphany and deciding that I was done being silenced. And I am done with staying quiet so as not to upset people. We don’t grow without discomfort, and our lives aren’t meant to be lived for our personal comfort.