Comments Off on A Little Personal History, part 14, Silence and Voice
I think for now, this is the ending bit. Or the bit where there’s tape and it joins to the next bit of twist to make the mobius strip. Or maybe it is a ribbon bow and there are many such where to rotate back from where these thoughts began isn’t to close a figure 8, not a circle, more to angle though the same intersection from another angle.
The first thought of this series of thoughts came from the prompt of remember: being silenced.
A flood comes forward. Often of middle aged drunk men leaning in with their cleverness and a grope at me. I “developed” early. I had my period at 10. I was full-figured at 12. I think I became adult at 29 around the time I made hard choices about the starter career and what to keep and drop in life.
I started to get my voice out of me in my 30s. I spoke before then of course, and wrote and lived my life but it seemed communication with regret under duress with prevailing fear. I expected to have to fight. I expect to be opposed, perhaps harangued. I’d rather let things slide out of the heat of the moment and won’t correct. Things rightify themselves more often than not, or so dad used to say.
If I point out a boundary of my own and stand my ground I can expect to be dive-bombed with words claiming higher moral ground as logician making me smaller, disparaged as a wee feeling beastie who cannot think, a female as permanent larval form of man. To call out one thing is to be washed under my own undertow of every wrong I’ve ever done. It’s not playing fair and it hasn’t happened for probably a decade.
It has to do with acceptable emotional displays. It has to do with power restored when I don’t get rattled when harassed. It has to do with sadness being silenced as a makeshift solution that works like duct tape for leaking roof.
Is this too my father? He has popped up more in 5 years than I was conscious of before he died.
“Be inert, be safe” was his way to live. Not that he could hold to it himself but he shut down his own laughter, or any other emotion, muffled it as quickly as he could.
His raised back of hand to clip me one to make me strong in a hard world where if I armour up enough early than I won’t be hurt like him so at any flicker of disappointment any flush any tearing up, no tears could fall in the time it took him to call me on it and say, quit your snivelling or I will give you something to cry about, so what if he never hit except twice. Once I got the report of my hind hide tanned red as a toddler who ran away and because they were scared and once when I saw him run, that penguin sprint to bawl.
His silences are not bound to be mine. Silences of my mother to accept the world as is, must expose legs, never be alone with males, etc.
When did I speak up? I tended to. As much as I love good kinds of silence the romp of conversation is life-giving.
Speaking is just as scary as silence but instead of closing down and letting frustration rule, there’s surfing that moment, gulping air, feel electric jolt thru legs that might crumple them, squeak out, forgetting all proper order of hello, who you are, why you’re speaking, jump mid-phrase thought and in the stammer stutter sniff with half the articulacy and volume of as a wrenched cuss.
The whole body’s clenched against the water-thick air and creak, break the miniscus and it’s nothing to someone else.
Nothing. Others have grace. They flow on. My exhaustive effort is neutral but we’re still talking.
A for instance, he smiled and nodded at the time, then emailed 2 days later asking, what did you say? I couldn’t hear you. You showed me something on the screen. I couldn’t see for the glare.
He too was nervous and leaping into the coke-bottle water-air. Few have the effective prescription.
Yet speaking gets easier, less terrifying, sometimes even with the fuel ratio for a much cleaner burn. Sometimes it’s ease.
Sometimes there’s the ability to be able to use all your senses and be your best and worst complex self and get across that boundary of individual and mingle boundaries and ideas and feel the rightness in being, the contentment that glows for days, for the onwards.
Sometimes when you speak of all your identities, like JayTheNerdKid,
I believe women have the right to live their lives without fear of harassment from men, another right enshrined in the Qur’an. Islam is, Allah tells us, a permissive religion. It is meant to make our lives easier, happier and more peaceful. Feminism is also meant to make our lives easier, happier and more peaceful.
and there’s a pingback that isn’t telling you that you’re wrong. There’s a remarkable overlap or celebration of difference and commonalities instead.