we all have voices inside of us that speak to us.

in whispers or in screams.

and those voices came from somewhere.

and they need to go.

 

Sometimes I try to remember when the voices started.

Sometimes I wonder when they’ll go away. Or if they’ll go away at all.

It’s better not to think of that last one though, because there’s one voice that whispers an answer every time that I ask.

An answer that I deeply hope is a lie.

But what if the words it tells me in that whisper are true, after all? The thought of that scares me.

So I try not to wonder about that.

 

I can’t even remember a time when they haven’t been there.

They have made my own voice so small, it’s almost impossible for me to find it..

So quiet and hesitant that it barely even tries to be heard anymore.

When it does, it is swiftly shut down and swept away by the collective voice.

A singular voice now, born of the multitude of voices that took up residence throughout the years.

 

I would hear them, inside of me, in their own voices when they spoke to me.

They were voices that were not mine but I knew them all the same.

They were teachers, friends, aunts, uncles, doctors and strangers even.

The voices of those closest were the easiest to believe and allow in to stay.

My best friends, my lovers, my partners.

My mother.

 

Critiqued and judged, found to be lacking. A disappointment and of little value.

Their voices would scold, judge, shame and humiliate me.

Every doubt that my self mused over would be violently wrenched from my grip and

tossed amongst the voices like a game of hot potato.

The intensity and pain of the doubt growing stronger and more powerful as it went from voice to voice.

The self-doubt changed and shaped into a truth in their grasp before it was given back to me where I would accept it and hold it tightly to me.

It was mine now. True and indisputable. Believed.

 

My voice wouldn’t lie to me.

MY voice.

I wonder sometimes when the voices stopped being “them” and became “me”.

When did they start to speak in my voice, sounding like me and not themselves anymore?

Their whispers and shouts no longer familiar or known, but now in my own voice.

The cadence and nuances of what spoke to me made up of the very fibre of my self.

Sometimes I try to remember when the voices started.

Sometimes I wonder when they’ll go away. Or if they’ll go away at all.

 

words,

they seduce me.

drawing me in and twirling me around them as if they were my lover.

their seduction, burrowing within my mind, is slow and tentative at first.

it comes at times inappropriate and often inconvenient,

but they don’t care.

tendrils of thoughts dangled just out of my reach, daring me,

they tease and taunt my desires, I yearn to grasp them,

haunting and evocative they are to my senses.

words, phrases even at times, that dance across the stage of my mind.

alluring, deceptively innocent looking they appear at first.

some have given up the pretense and offer instead the raw lust of need.

they are embers,

thinly veiled ,hiding the promise of their flames that will consume me.

words that I let roll over my tongue, spoken silently deep inside of me.

I taste them, I savour their substance and their texture in my mouth and my soul.

words that envelope my being as I surrender to their embrace of my dreams.

they give life to my darkness,

they allow my light to break free of the shadows,

even if only inside my own mind,

in my own voice.

words that speak in whispers or in screams of rage.

words murmured in passion and desire as the trysts of my fantasies are given shape.

they create wells of sadness impossibly deep to ever claw out of.

they are the words that encapsulate joys beyond what a heart can even imagine.

words that are so heavy you can feel their weight,

crushing and demanding.

words that lift me up and let me fly and see me gently tumble and turn as I fall,

laughing with the insanity of it all.

words that are so visceral and disgusting.

and so unfathomably beautiful that they don’t exist to our ears,

only in our minds do we find them.

I hold tightly to them once found,

treasure and cherished.

they seduce me.

words.

I wondered today, as I weighed and measured myself, what it would be like to be free of all this. To just be done with the impact that all those numbers have on me. What would it be like to just look at my body and not measure its value or worth or how I feel about it based on anything other than how it simply IS. What would happen if I saw the little extra here and there and just shrugged and went about my day and felt fabulous and sexy and desirable and strong and all those other feelings that get snagged in the daily net of “not good enough”?

I have days when I feel great… then I weigh myself and all of a sudden I don’t feel like I did a few minutes before. Yet my ingrained sense of self-image is so tied to achieving what always is a work in progress that I am addicted to tracking and critiquing myself. Sure, part of it is that I do feel, physically, so much better when I’m a few pounds down. I feel stronger and lighter and more in shape and that translates to me feeling less inhibited and less insecure. A large part of this all though is the unknown of how do I measure my self-worth and my self image outside of the constraints of scales and measuring tapes and waist sizes? That’s something that I’ve never been exposed to. I see people who do this; I see their freedom and I envy that. I strive towards that. I feel bound by my inhibitions and self judgement of physical self – to the point where I hate the limitations it has had, and continues to have, on my activities and my life.

There have been times, when I am so IN and OF my body that I cease to BE my body. Experiences that are deeply and profoundly physical but are so emotional and intense that my body is nothing so inconsequential as a physical thing, but rather, it becomes what it actually is… a vessel for Me. Times when the phrase “coming back to earth” is perfect for capturing how it feels. My body, at those times, is simply and beautifully, nothing more than something that holds my Self. It gives me movement and expression physically for the wonderfulness that is all inside. Those times have been rare but oh so memorable.

I hold onto to those memories with a strong grasp knowing that if I can get there once or twice, then I can do it again. To dance, to love, to move, fly, swing and swim and everything in between. Freely, openly, abundantly even. Yes. It’s there, I’ve seen it and felt it and will again.

I’m used to covering up. I do it every day for work in one specific way. The scars on my arms are always covered at work. Always. Outside of work, I couldn’t care less if they are seen. They are simply part of who I am. I have left behind the shame and the self-consciousness that I carried for so long about them. They are, along with the rest of the markings that my body carries, the telling of my story on my skin. Yet I also know the judgement that people make about them. So, for workdays, they are kept covered. It is a constant annoyance to me that I have to base my clothing choices, at work,  on what can be worn so that I won’t show a part of myself that could be an issue in people’s perception of my capability and even my stability. But that’s the way it is and I have learned to accept that.

 

In the same manner, I take out the visible jewellry of my septum piercing on Sunday nights and replace it with a retainer. Invisible when I work so that the facial piercing is, like my scars, hidden away and not seen – so as to not cause judgement or perceptions that aren’t accurate.

 

This past Tuesday morning though, such a harder hit of covering up. Returning to work Tuesday morning after a weekend with my chosen family and tribe. The ferry ride, the drive, the feeling of being alone again settling in. After a long weekend of feeling so wrapped in people who understand and accept, it’s hard to hold onto that as I dive back into the need to cover up again. Walking into my house and immediately my mind goes to changing my clothes to be able to be presentable for work. Considering not only covering the scars on my arms but also choosing a shirt that covers the marks of the piercings in my chest and the slight bruising from the hooks placed there. Easy enough to find clothing but it’s the  feeling of also having to cover up so much more than the physical this time that is hitting me deeply.

 

Not sure how to cover up and slip the mask on as I always do. Feeling it is harder this time than it has been. Feeling the cover up not just physical but on an emotional and base level that is leaving me feeling a bit sad. I am who and how I am, and I am blessed and grateful that I have so many in my life that see me and honour that.

The place, there, where I am simply exposed and unguarded, accepted.

The place, here, where I must delicately place a filter and keep some parts of me hidden discreetly.
There is an edge that is walked, between here and there and tonight it feels sharp.

an angel,                                                                                                                                                                                  in her flight, fell.

 a demon,
 in her chaos, rose.
 one was called Lightness
 and
 one was called Torment.
 they collided, the fabric of their Selves
 woven, intermingled,
 as they felt,
 their discord,
 their harmony.
 they were entangled,
 until they could no longer remember
 before.
 until they could no longer recall
 who was Torment
 and
 who was Lightness.
 entwined, they embraced
 as they tumbled,
 and
 they remembered.
 they saw.
 as now, as they have always been,
 perfectly, exquisitely,
 a beautiful maelstrom
 of both.
 they fell
 and they soared.
 together,
 one.

What’s holding me back?

What is it that confines me?

I wish, I hope, I want to.

Yet I almost always don’t. I let other people’s opinions and beliefs of me reinforce the whispering voice inside my own head that tells me I can’t, or I shouldn’t.

My confidence shaky at best and non-existent most of the time, if I am to be honest about it.

I sometimes actually feel it but those times are the rare exceptions.

The times that I glimpse with my feelings what it’s like to be free.

Free from restraint and fear and second guessing my Self and my choices, my wants, my desires.

Freedom that I crave and want and when I taste it the odd time, it stirs in me a thirst that hurts all the more because of how unattainable it feels to ever own that freedom.

What’s holding me back?

What stops me from the doing and the being and expressing and the living?

Me, simply, Me.

A gathering lately of friends – people who are, oddly, not necessarily closely connected yet are also,more close than can be explained. Tribe. Family. A weekend that words don’t really do justice.

Words that still elude me trying to bring essence to the awareness of my experience. A soft knowing that happened in a moment when a smile broke out instead of tears. When I knew that, at that moment, healing meant laughter and silliness and the elation of flying and sharing space with a few amazing women. An oddly secluded and intimate space of time, safe, secure, simple and easy and just… yes. No words. Just feeling.

Feeling that in welcoming joy in, it wasn’t going to be with tears and pain. The wind blowing in my hair and ruffling my skirt around my legs as I giggled and joked and connected – with my Self – and more importantly with the people who I was blessed to be with during that time. The wind and the sunshine, the calmness and the joy in the women with me, the water, the trees, the dirt, the rock that brought me back to my senses even, all of it bringing feeling back.

Words try, but they can’t tell what has to be felt and seen with the heart instead of the mind. Sometimes it takes something so deeply in your body to take you so deeply out of it.

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My body carries the adornment of its experiences.

The permanent crease of my brow as it has furrowed, years of squinting because of eyesight less than perfect and a forgetfulness for wearing my glasses.Leaving behind a deep wrinkle that tells that story, silently like all the other marks and notes in my flesh.

The lines around my mouth and eyes , the deeper ones on my forehead all speak,if you know how to listen. They tell of a life full of rambunctious laughter and giggles as well as simple smiles and kisses that have puckered my lips more times that my mind can remember.

A love of lifting my face to the sun to feel its warmth and embrace has left its kiss on my skin.

My belly sings with a gentle softness and shines with the shimmer of marks from the story of people who were conceived and grown there. Four wonderfully miraculous souls who shared my body for a while before they embarked on their own journeys.

My scars each have their own moments to share. The loudest voice that they speak with though is the one that whispers that I survived and am still here to wear them.

I am all of this on the outside.

The vessel that I live in gives a glimpse of where I’ve been.

As the years come and go, my life leaves more impressions on my body.

I see it, far from imperfect or flawed… I see the beauty and expression of a life lived.

We spend a lot of time and energy and money on our bodies. In one way or another we “feed” our bodies so much.

Resources allocated to make it slimmer, bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible…better. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s all important. Our bodies are, after all, the vessels that we live our lives in and through. Having a healthy and capable body means we can do more, and enjoy doing what we do with less pains and aches and, hopefully, for as many years as we can squeeze out of this matter that makes up what carries us around. But, there’s always a “but”, if we look at that phrase that our bodies are just vessels, then that leaves the issue of what’s inside the vessel? Isn’t that what’s being protected and encased and isn’t what’s IN the vessel, very simply, MORE than what’s carrying it? Shouldn’t we be putting just as much, maybe even more resources to nourishing that?

I got to thinking about this personally lately as I’ve been musing decisions to make and paths to follow coming up. The truth struck me that some of the choices I keep putting off relate directly to the care and feeding of Me. Not my body, but Me. The Me that resides inside the vessel. Paths and actions that will nourish and grow and embrace the journey of Me are being sat on the shelf and given a pat on the proverbial head and told to be patient… while I put my resources to the gym, running, biking, trying to eat healthier, moisturizing…sigh. What gets done for the inside?

I thoroughly enjoy all of these things – or I wouldn’t do them. I love running and biking in the early morning. It does make me feel good on the inside as well as physically. But where is my Yoga practice that I had for years? The practice that filled my being with a feeling of unity between the inner and the outer… a practice that brought me a sense of being connected and a sense of knowing, deeply knowing, Me. It’s sitting on that shelf.
Sitting there along with time for reading books that make my mind tingle with new information and points of view… books that challenge and inspire and make me cry and laugh and look at the clock and see that I’ve lost 3 hours and my tea has gone cold. Reading for pleasure and for the pleasure of learning. Something else for Me that’s been sat back there.
My lust for travel, for exploring and seeing and experiencing. A drive to feed the hunger that sits and yearns to drink in someplace else…filling Me with sights and sounds and feels that expand who I am and what makes Me, Me.

Beyond goals and dreams, deeper than that. The fundamental neglect of cultivating growth. A sometimes, but not always, subtle ignoring of what is needed to tend to Me. Needs that just simply aren’t valued. That’s the base of it all.

It’s easier to take care of what we see and what can have “success” more easily measured. What we fail to recognize though is that eventually, the neglect and ignorance of feeding the spirit will become just as visible. What’s inside of this vessel will either shine brighter or grow dimmer as the years meander along. Which of those happens is up to how it’s tended to.

As I contemplate where to put my resources of time, energy and money this coming year, it’s clear to me now the changes that need to be made.
a soft blow on the embers and a smile to see a flame

Change is a funny thing. Not funny “ha ha” but funny odd.

There are a couple of ways to look at it.

Sometimes, we are faced with change that’s outside of our control. We have to change but we don’t want to. This is a tough one and the one that we tend to feel the most.
This is the external push that sends us reeling, or fumbling most likely, in a new altered direction from the one we had been travelling.
A simple thing like a flat tire can be enough to alter a days plans or something as massive as a burnt out home can force an entire life shift. Losing a loved one, a job or finding out an unexpected baby is on the way – all can fundamentally change your life. And not of your choosing.
We have to react, there’s no choice. We have to learn to accept because there isn’t any other option but to do so.
We have choice still with HOW we react and whether that acceptance comes fast or slow or easy or hard…but the simple fact is, we have no choice in what has happened to bring us to change.

Then there’s another change. A change that is possible when we don’t HAVE TO, but we WANT to. This one is where so many sit for so long… and never do anything. Because nothing forces our hand. We may want to change jobs or careers, we may want to end a relationship or add a new one into our lives. Yet we don’t. We dawdle and we hum and haw and keep going… every now and then fired up to change but we never really enact that change that we WANT.
This is almost a worse feeling that being forced to change. This type of change may be hard and it may very well shake things up just as much as a forced change but when it’s a personal action that needs to set the ball rolling… that’s where it catches and stops; before it even gets started usually.
It’s always easier to stay where you are and in what you have rather than making the change. No matter how much you want and how much you desire “different”, it’s hard.

Sometimes we set the ball rolling in a passive way, hoping that then “something” will take over and make us change. We’ve all seen it… maybe even done it. We start behaviours in a relationship that we know, deep down, that will trigger the other person to end it…and voila! Now you HAVE TO move on…and it’s no longer a choice. Take away the choice and you take away the personal responsibility for the decision…and that’s where we get strung up.
What if we make the wrong choice? What if we pursue that dream and it falls through? Or we realize that it wasn’t what it was all cracked up to be in our heads? Hmm, then what? Then we have to be responsible for where we are… so much easier is we can say it wasn’t our fault, isn’t it?
If all we’re doing is reacting then we’re always a step removed from being the person who is responsible for where you are. It’s always nice to be able to not have the finger pointing back at yourself when deciding who is making you unhappy or malcontent.

I hear it all the time, we all do. People who talk about wanting to change, to have a different direction, to BE different…and they follow it up with so many reasons – quite simply, excuses – about why they *can’t*.

So they sit and wait for life to throw something at them that they can’t ignore and that they must react to. And if it doesn’t come, they sit. Stagnant and not where they want to be…but not doing anything to change it.

Sad. So much more sadness in that than there is in anything that can happen to us.