I cannot speak. I try but no voice comes out. When I do speak I cower internally as I wait for the response. I feel small. I was made to feel small and insignificant. If I look to where this stems from, I find it is deeply rooted in its childhood origin of speaking, and not getting the response that made me feel heard. This left a hole. I can feel the hole. It is as if I have a hole in my back where I wanted someone to “have my back” aka make me feel protected, but none did. I spoke, I was not heard, I didn’t feel protected, and it left a hole. So I seek protection. I seek someone or something to fill that void. I seek this so that I can have my voice back.
Have you ever allowed your body to feel the voids? The spots that feel open, vulnerable, and scared? Where are these holes left by trauma? I feel it in my chest when I try to speak. I feel in my back when I want to feel protected. I feel it in my stomach when I have a flashback. What do we do with all of these trauma holes? I can picture them as if I were standing in the dark and the light were shining right through every single hole that was left by abuse. I have looked for an outside source to fill these holes for me. Love will fix that one, protection will fix that one, or so I thought, but it was only temporary. As soon as I felt vulnerable again, another hole appeared. I also imagine it as if I were a pin cushion and each time someone hurt me they stuck another hole in the pin cushion. Jab. Jab. Jab with the pins. They may pull the pin out but there is a tiny little hole and the stuffing may temporarily spread to cover it but if you hold it to the light, you can still see the holes.
I’m FULL of trauma holes. I feel them in my body if I truly connect to me when I am feeling, I notice them everywhere. Little memories pop up and I think, yep, that left a mark. They are moments that could have been moments of growth which ended up being moments of voids. When the hair dresser made a mistake and accidentally dyed my hair jet black and I came home mortified, my mom could have said, ” you are gorgeous, you can totally pull off black, and if not we can just fix it Monday.” Instead she lost her mind, slapped me, and yelled at me for “ruining my beautiful hair.” As if I had intended on making my hair black and done it on purpose, which was apparent I had not. These moments. These moments can be growth moments where you feel accepted, and loved, or moments that leave a void where they should have been filled with love but weren’t. It is a small example but it illustrates my intention. When I spoke of the abuse that happened to me, to my family, they responded in anger, blame, and banishment, creating another void which could have been filled with love and healing and growth, but instead left a hole.
So when someone inflicts this hole and uses you as a pincushion it can have a domino affect emotionally. It almost stunts the development of the emotion felt at that time. For me, my speaking, was stunted. It was developmentally halted with just a hole in its place. How do I fix all of these holes?? One at a time!
So I’ve decided on a Gorilla and a hawk as my imagery animal helpers. When I need to speak, I imagine a Gorilla at my back. He has GOT my back. No one is sneaking up behind me and no one is going to come at me. The hawk is up above flying around screeching just to let me know if anything goes wrong in this situation, he will fly down and those talons will do some serious damage, and his voice I can use to help me find mine. I feel protected, and someone has my back, so I can finally speak.
When I have tried to speak in the past, I am small. I am just a little girl who can’t say the words she wants to say because she knows that her words don’t matter. To heal from the hole that is left by those who shut down my voice, I need to be that little girl who speaks with a gorilla and a hawk beside her. Each time that little girl speaks through me, as an adult, a void is filled. A hole is recovered and the adult me doesn’t feel small anymore.It’s going to take time. This hole is pretty big. It’s spent a lifetime being made larger by continuously not feeling heard.
When you realize that the adult you is having an issue rooted in the child you, it can be mended. The first step is being aware. Discovering where the root of the issue is coming from, validating what was never validating, and tackling it head on.
I’ve been tackling this for awhile now but only just now discovered the root. I’ve been able to write what I want to say for over a year now, but speaking it is an entirely different process. Most people aren’t used to my voice. They are used to the quiet me. Some people don’t like me using my voice. The words my voice is speaking are words that have needed to be spoken for a long time now. Words that express how I feel. Words that tell others how they make me feel. Being quiet is safe. I like the feeling being quiet gives me. But no one moved forward staying in the comfort zone of their mind that trapped them there.
I’m filling the trauma holes one at a time. Currently with the help of a Gorilla and a hawk. One day I won’t need them anymore, but that 14 year old still does. I’m giving that 14 year old a voice that she never got and moving all the way to this 44 year old me that has things that need to be said too.
Stay tuned for the voice of me. I have a feeling once my voice box develops there will be far more of me healed than I ever imagined. I hope this is so.