Random Thoughts About Speaking My Mind

November 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm (Uncategorized)

Have you ever had the dream where you go to talk to someone and there is a softball sized wad of gum stuck in your mouth? When you reach in to pull it out, all you get are long stringy bands, and the more you pull the bigger the wad seems to get?   I think I started having this dream somewhere around age 10.  It represents feelings of not being allowed to speak my mind and needing to stuff my thoughts back where they came from.

Growing up, I was taught many things about speaking my mind.  I was taught it was disprespectful.  I was taught it could hurt someone’s feelings.  I was taught that it would get me in trouble.  I was taught “Who do you think you are… to disagree? to think you are right?  to think you know anything?”   My mother had a tremendous influence on my life.  I know she loved and cared for me deeply, and I also know that her own mental, emotional, and social handicaps (for which she, for a number of reasons, never got help for) were passed on to me through her words and actions.  She was not the type of woman I could go and pour my heart out to, and if she ever suspected that I might be trying to talk to my dad she would sneak up on us and attack us with her words.  She worried about what I said when I was away from home. I was often reminded that what happened in our home needed to stay in our home.  Eventually I gave up trying to confide in my dad, and he gave up trying to help me.   Stuffing my thoughts and feelings and opinions inside became a survival skill.

I turned to journal writing at a young age because it was a safe way to express myself. I could pour my heart out and no one would know.   Then one day in my senior year my mother found my journal and  read it.  I have to laugh a little because I remember writing, “Private, do not read!” on the cover.  How could she resist??  I had a boyfriend.  His mother had gotten pregnant out of wedlock.  Surely I was siding with the devil.  Needless to say, she didn’t like what it said.   She burned it on the gas grill behind my childhood home.  All the poems and stories I wrote for my brother who had passed away were gone. All my thoughts about falling in love and bonding with Nathan’s family were gone.   And so were all my thoughts and frustrations about life.

So much for having a safe place to express myself.

I’m a thinker, an analyzer, a talker and an observer by nature.  It’s really difficult to stuff away who you really are year after year.

I’ve grown a lot thanks to the help of a great therapist, years of hard work, and a husband who has stuck by me through thick and thin.  Becoming a parent has forced me to deal with a lot of my childhood angst, and I am thankful.  It has forced me to find ways to heal because I desperately do not want to pass along the unhealthy habits I learned growing up.  Through all my recovery work, I’ve rediscovered my love of writing.   I discovered my voice, and it feels wonderful.  I am so thankful to have a place share my passion for conscious parenting through this blog.

As I’ve become healthier, I’ve found that I have many opinions on many things, especially when it comes to parenting and education.  Because I’ve done a lot of therapy and a lot of research, and because I have a background in education and spent 7 years working for the school system, I think I have some pretty valuable ideas on these subjects.   At the same time, I am certainly still learning and I always try to remain open to new ways of looking at things.  Yet I still worry about pissing people off.  And even though I know that I am not responsible for other people’s reactions to my ideas just as they are not responsible for my reaction to theirs, I can’t quite shake the voice in me that says, “Shut up, Janet.  What you have to say doesn’t mean shit you poor pathetic, wounded woman.”

Yet it is these wounds that give me passion.

I’ve decided I’m not going to shut up.  I can’t.  I’m going to keep talking, keep reading, keep learning, keep tweaking my opinions, and keep healing, and in so doing I hope to encourage others to keep talking, keep reading, keep learning, keep tweaking their opinions and keep healing as well. Yes, I can learn to speak with more tact.  I can learn how to more clearly express respect and love.  I can learn when it is valuable to speak up and when it is valuable to keep my mouth closed.   But I can’t learn unless I practice.

Thank you to my friends who let me practice with them.


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