Today I’m feeling good about having a voice.
I don’t mean in the literal sense, although I am really happy I can sing and speak and shout. I spent ~24 years of my life unable to speak for myself in terms of what I need emotionally, spiritually, and often physically.
Some powerful assets in waking up my inner voice have been:
Reading Women Who Run With the Wolves (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
Working in retail at an herbal supplement store
‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’ is a book divulging great and powerful secrets of what Dr. Estes calls ‘the deep life’ and ‘the creative fire’ of women. If you want to truly know women and truly know yourself, her poetic compendium of story and explanation is full of beauty and numerous moments of understanding. This book resounded deeply with me, and I will refer to it again for this blog.
Working in retail may sound like a mystical and vague way to find a voice. I truly care about the mission of the store I worked for, making herbal and alternative medicine available to the wider public, rather than just initiated students of Eastern medicine. Due to my devotion for the work, adopting a positive attitude and good customer relationships were of utmost importance. Doing so is unfailingly a challenge, regardless of the venue. Every store attracts some variation of ‘difficult customer’, that person who
a) thinks you can read their mind, that you already know what they need
b) shops while sick, therefore getting everyone in the store sick
c) is having a bad day and taking it out on everyone in their path
d) needs more friends than they have
e) wants to pay $20 less than the stated price
f) does not listen or read signs
g) believes you are responsible for everything wrong with the store, and possibly the world
and etc. yes, there is more.*
So when I say this helped me gain a voice, I do not mean a voice to curse or whine or complain about these people. I needed to be able to say “Yes, this is the closest thing we have,” “I’m sorry, I don’t know,” or “let me see what I can do to help you with that,” and leave it at that, instead of taking it personally or internally blaming the customer for needing things. None of us can help needing things, sometimes we just need help getting them.
Taking trapeze helped me gain my voice in so many ways. I wanted to learn circus arts, especially trapeze, since I was a child. I finally said, there’s got to be a way to learn this. I used the internet to find a place to study, registered and paid, drove 1.5 hours, and anxiously took my first class (I’m afraid of heights… luckily static trapeze is only 5 feet off the ground). I loved it so much, and now have my own trapeze!
In addition to fortifying my ability to take a risk to pursue a long-held goal, trapeze has strengthened my body, particularly my arms. I have persevered despite soreness and bruises and muscle aches. I always wanted to be athletic and was nearly ready to accept that I never would be, that I am the Victorian stereotype of weak and sick. I fought that negative thinking and won!