Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day #20 - The Sound of Silence

Today's challenge resonates with me very deeply.  For so long in my eating disorder, I was silent - or, to be more accurate, I didn't have a voice.  I'm going to try to use my voice today.  I'm going to try to be brave.

The sound of silence...

I am young and I don't use my voice because trying to be heard over the din and hum drum of all of my siblings is an exercise in futility.  I am young and I don't use my voice because I am not sure anybody will think what I have to say is interesting.  I am young and I am silent because scary things happen (as they happen to all of us in life) but they leave me feeling confused and ashamed and insecure, and I think that I need to keep quiet about all of these things, so that Mom and Dad will still love me, and so that Jesus will too, so that I can go to Heaven.

I'm a little older now.  I keep my silence because it is so easy to; the habit is deeply ingrained in me.  Instead I use my body to speak for me; my bones and the hollows and grooves of my collarbone and ribs that say I AM SCARED HELP HELP HELP ME.  I have scars all over my body that say I AM NOT OKAY I AM HURTING SO MUCH AND I DESERVE THIS PAIN BUT I WISH I HAD SOMEONE WHO COULD SHOW ME ANOTHER WAY.

But still, I keep my silence.

But, I talk.  Of course I talk!   But in between all the words that make sentences, and the sentences that form conversations, and all the fake smiles and meaningless hugs, the silence sits heavily on my shoulder.  My silence sounds something like this:

"Oh hi!  I'm fine.  How are you?"
or
"Nothing much is going on, I guess, just same old same old.  What about you?"
or
"Thanks for asking, but I think I'm going to stay home tonight.  But have fun!"

When I really could have been saying...

"I'm not okay.  I'm dying.  I want to die.  Help me."
or
"So much is happening and I am confused and scared about it  I hurt myself and I don't eat and I can't stop and I'm afraid something very bad is going to happen."
or
"Oh, I'd love to hang out with you.  I'm scared, because being around a lot of people makes me nervous, but I'd like to try.  Thanks so much for thinking of me."
It's so interesting this came up as a prompt today, because just this last Friday in therapy, my therapist and I were talking about how I still struggle, after all this time, to use my voice.  I've seen my therapist for almost three years now, and I absolutely adore her, but even now, I'll often come to therapy with my walls up.  I look at the ground and don't make eye contact.  I'm shifty.  I'm quiet.  I give monosyllabic answers to her questions.  And I don't WANT to do these things.  I am aware I am doing this, and I'm screaming inside.  I'm screaming, PLEASE GET ME TO TALK!  DON'T SETTLE FOR MY SILENCE!  HELP ME NOW!
and--
usually she does.  Thank God, she knows me, and she knows that my silence is killing me, and she helps me break that silence.  In fact, just this Friday, because I was having such a hard time articulating what I needed to say, my T suggested I write her an email and tell her what was going on, because she knows that often the written word is so much easier for me to express myself rather than by verbalizing it.  And I took her up on her offer gratefully, and then I proverbially puked out the longest email ever.  But, as I was writing it, I was crying, because it felt so good to use my voice (even over email) and break my silence.

I am learning more and more that my eating disorder is tied to shame and the shame is what keeps me silent.  I am learning that if I can verbalize my shame and look at it realistically, and thus help it diminish, then I can be well on my way to kicking the eating disorder behaviors for good.  And even though I know all this, it is still insanely difficult for me to use my voice.  I've been long out of the habit, and so it is scary, and it is hard.

But I am beginning to believe that I have something important to say.
And it's time to break the silence.
And say it.
Just say it.
And I'll be okay.


[Another darn post that made me cry!]

6 comments:

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Congrats on breaking the silence and on acknowledging your voice. I think the written word is just as effective and just as LOUD as using spoken word, so if that is what helps you to articulate what's inside Brie, then let her out in words on paper or on the internet.

IJustDontKnow said...

Shame. ugh. Let me know if you figure out how to rid your cells of it. I used to think it was a coat I could learn how to remove. But then I found it had seeped into my pores, too deep to even cut out. I so admire your courage to talk about it and use your voice to chip away at it. <3

Adam and Cassie said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Your words describe exactly how I have felt for so long. It comforts me to know that I'm not alone and inspires me to use my voice.

Liz said...

That was just beautiful, Brie. Thanking you for sharing all of that. Silence can speak louder then words.

po said...

I too have trouble with verbal communication in the way you describe. We are both lucky that we at least have the outlet of being able to express ourselves in the written form, and I do think that in time verbal expression does become easier.

bri said...

Love u Brie! This really resonates with me as well. I love the part about when u were younger that is often how I felt. I swear B we are twins. I miss u so much!