What do I have to lose?
That is the question that has been bouncing around my head all day. Mainly because I have been living in fear of speaking my mind for so long it isn’t funny. There is always a reason and I think it stems from having it told to me from a very young age that no one likes the truth.
As a child I learned that you didn’t speak your mind because if anything on your mind went against the lord and master that ruled our home, the fright that he’d put you through was sure to induce cardiac arrest. You also couldn’t write the truth even in book format. The first book I ever attempted to write went against our good Christian values, but highlighted the hypocrisy in those values and my mother quickly took it away, telling me to keep writing but just not about bad stuff.
Teen years came with knowing that if you were blunt, your friends would call you names and the boys didn’t like the girls who didn’t giggle and agree with whatever they wanted. So you adapted. Sometimes it would boil over and those times proved who your true friends were. Who really valued you regardless.
As I entered the workforce, you didn’t speak your mind or you’d be out of a job. In Corporate America, you definitely don’t speak your mind because you’ll be blacklisted from any job you may be trying for because you’ll be listed as belligerent and brash.
As I got older, you didn’t speak your mind because your own family members would turn on you. Didn’t matter if you were valid in what you were speaking, they’d cut ties with you at the first sense of disagreement. Therapists call this their fight or flight response. Theirs had always been flight…mine was always fight. But then again, I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve ever gotten in life, I can’t think of a single time where something was just handed to me.
Well… one time. Jason.
Stefanie did kind of just pick him out of thin air for me, but this last year with him hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine… it’s been real, at times breathtakingly vulnerable and at others painfully hard, work. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though. He is the end all of my be all, regardless of those that feel he is the worst thing to happen to me. But those that feel that way are the first ones to refuse to acknowledge that their “unconditional” love has its own set of strings attached to it.
Which brings me back to what do I have to lose?
I’m a storyteller. Writing is so ingrained in me, it literally has been the one constant in some of the worst moments of my life. And yet here I sit…. Holding my tongue again, which is leading me to ask why… why am I so afraid of telling my story? Am I afraid of offending people? Who? The ones who would be most offended by me speaking my story are the ones who have already made it blatantly obvious that my feelings don’t matter to them, and have so effortlessly cut me out of their lives without a look back… so again, what do I have to lose?
Would I lose someone or something that is integral to my waking up tomorrow, or breathing my next breath? No.
So why do I still bite my tongue?
For the same reason that over the last five years, when I would tell anyone who asked that I would never remarry because the kind of romance I wanted didn’t exist, there was still a small hope inside of me, even if I’d never admit it. I was just waiting for someone to prove me wrong.
Hope that above all else – I’m worth it to them to fight for. That their ingrained response to flee will somehow be overpowered by their need to keep me in their lives. And the very real fear that if I open my mouth and start spilling the truth of my feelings, that I’ll burn bridges I can never go back across.
Through this whole evening tonight, the song Alive by Sia is on a loop. Anyone who knows me, knows that this song has a special, anthem-like spot in my heart. This is the song that I play when I need to remind myself for all the times that people, specifically my father, told me I would never amount to anything, that I continually prove them wrong.
Maybe that is why I feel so strongly about writing my past out, especially now as life has seemingly reset a lot of things for me making me feel like I’m back at square one again. Maybe I just need to remind myself how many times I’ve proven people wrong – the people who are supposed to have the most faith in me, who’ve continually told me I never would… I’ve completely proven them wrong…
I have made every single mistake that you could ever possibly make, I took and I took and I took what you gave, but you never noticed that I was in pain. I knew what I wanted, I went out and got it, did all the things that you said that you said that I couldn’t. I told you that I would never be forgotten, and all in spite of you… and I’m still breathing.
This… this line in a simple pop song speaks volumes to me about the type of person I am, and it’s my own fault that I have let so many people try to make me forget that. I do believe it’s time to start walking down memory lane. If that upsets you, I’m sorry.
In the words of Annie Lamott…. “You own everything that happened to you so tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”