Listen: Soft, Quieter Voices Need To Be Heard Too

Guy Fawkes 2006

Guy Fawkes 2006 (Photo credit: Max xx)

My friend’s voice is soft, she is not a leader but a follower, I have no problem with this but some of my more straight-shooter, take control friends might. They have dominant voices, sit in attendance at board meetings, screaming, making a loud fuss about things that are important to them. Quiet people can’t or won’t do that but they still have their opinions. Louder people yell sometimes so that they don’t hear the soft voices in the background because nobody wants to speak over them.

Why should they? When they start to softly voice their concerns sometimes they feel berated. “Anyone who is scared to stand up for what they believe in is a scaredy-cat” loosely paraphrased someone said. Exhibit A. That, my friend, is a judgment, name calling.  Softer voices have opinions too but are not as equipped as some of the more confident, take charge people to talk at meetings, to make a fuss but their opinions, sometimes silently, count too. They also vote. Some people shy away from conflict, this is not a judgment call, I would call it a style.

Where am I in all this? Straight down the middle like a true Libra. Balancing each side, over and over again. Quietly. Making a huge fuss when it is important to me.  Family. Family. Family.

When my daughter was young she hid behind me and if she was shy or afraid, she would place her arms in the air in front of me and say “Up, Up” and I would lift her up and feel her body instantly relaxing against mine. Our son, the first-born,always bossed people around, he still does.  Our daughter had planned her birthday parties years in advance and stuck to each theme, always wanted to see her cake beforehand and read the last page of every book before she decided to read it. Our son loved the element of surprise, he had to be the good guy and I was always the bad guy and left rooms always trying to have the last word, saying “No more conversations, no new conversations.” Two adult children, two very different styles. I love them equally.

It took me a long time for me to find my voice, as a second child with an older sister who was very strong and bossy, (Some other people would call it overbearing.) When I was young I was shy, bashful so I can truly understand both sides. As soon as my sister went to college I found my voice and it was dramatic and beautiful and real.

Listen. Try silencing your voice and make people feel safe and don’t criticize them automatically for their fear or reluctance, I know you do it, you know it too. Not everyone is like you, though, the world is not made of people as strong as you. They need their own voices to be heard, in their own way. Sometimes with care, sometimes written, or spoken in whispers to friends who are willing to take the time to listen and not judge.

Whether you outright say it or not, people feel your judgment straight from your body to theirs, not all judgment is verbal, of course. You can feel it from someone’s eyes  or body language.  I will not judge you for hushed tones like a sleepy mouse, I will applaud you if anxiety  enabled you to speak softly about it in the first place.  We’re all just different in how we express things. Let’s try to play together, without judgment or criticism. The point is, everyone, in their own way, is entitled to be heard.

candle, candle in glass

candle, candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dedicated to my good friend, D.E.G.

for getting the conversation started.

(credit to above named photographers)

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Decluttering My Life

Clutter

Clutter (Photo credit: marlana)

First, I thought I might be a hoarder, and believe me I am in no way making a joke out of this. I read that hoarding starts with keeping sentimental things. If that’s how it starts then I am in big, big trouble. If I look around my house, though, the clutter is really just in my bedroom and my (once) big walk-in  closet. You can’t walk into it anymore. I ‘m scared, truly scared, as I look around my bedroom filled with Diet Snapple bottles and magazines, candles, plates, lavender moisturizing creams, piles of paper… I need to breathe, I  need to breathe.  Other rooms in the house “look” fine, for example: the living room but my room and my closet are humiliating and filled with junk. Boxes and boxes, laundry baskets and laundry baskets filled with everything but laundry.

If I declutter my house, will my head and heart be clearer too?

Lately, I have misplaced things too. My keys, my sunglasses, my plane ticket,  lipstick, my book, my jacket. Also, recently I have been very stressed out, emotionally. This is MORE than my nemesis Fibro Fog from Fibromyalagia. I misplace one thing after another, panicking and starting the cycle over again. There has to be a connection here I’m trying to slow myself down, so far it isn’t working. It’s not amusing when I “lose” something, my daughter helps me find it, ( I always find things,) I misplace things rapidly. I need to slow down.

I can’t deal with anything when I am feeling so overwhelmed. I need to start cleaning and organizing now, actually yesterday. I feel the stress in my stomach. I always feel stress first in my stomach, is that just me or does it happen to everyone? The tender points in my neck and shoulders are all raw, tap me lightly on a tender point and I will let out a blood-curdling scream. Last week the edge of my husband’s sleeve brushed against me and my scream was so awful and so loud that it scared both of us. Damn disease.

Next morning: I can breathe a little easier today, I really did work myself into a panic but once I started organizing my room and recycling a lot of papers and magazines I felt better. There’s still a lot on my mind, I don’t feel settled yet, but even if I make a tiny bit of progress it will make me fell more in control. Of everything. I will need to work things out, in my head and in my heart. I will do all that while I am cleaning, because cleaning will give me more control, I just feel that. I can’t be wrong. Can I?

Here, there and everywhere (Carry on Tuesday)

Woman with natural red hair

Woman with natural red hair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every day one makes hundreds and hundreds of decisions. Moira had never thought about it like that. Like the red freckles on her very freckled face or the stars in the galaxy we make decisions that affect our lives all the time. You might think that you make one decision here or there like what to wear or what to make for dinner but there are decisions to be made in every specific detail of your life. You probably just don’t realize it.

In less than an hour, Moira, the young beauty with the red hair and freckles decides when to get out of bed, changes her mind and goes back to sleep. At some point she will wake up, actually move her sleepy feet to the soft, gray carpet, get out of bed and decide whether to shower. She will pick out clothes, (should I wear pants or a skirt?) for college and get dressed. Moira still hasn’t left her yellow and white-flowered patterned bedroom. She heads to the loo to brush her teeth and wash her face and tries to put on a little make-up with little success.

After she has decided what to wear, she gets dressed and heads down to the kitchen because she decides she wants a lovely cup of tea. She puts on the kettle, selects the tea she wants and sits down to slowly sip her tea. She looks at her wristband watch and sees she has twenty more minutes before she needs to leave for college. She makes toast with orange marmalade and relaxes for 10 more minutes. Then, she decides it’s time to leave, gets her jacket and purse and heads out the door.

You think you don’t have any control in your life? That you make no decisions and that people make decisions for you? This is just one hour in our young Moira’s life. Decisions on what to do are everywhere; keep your eyes open and be aware of them. You are in control of your life, as much as anyone is: just break it down into little moments, like the individual strands of the fiery red hair that surround Moira’s beautiful, porcelain face.