Thursday, December 24, 2015

Finding My Voice and Listening

More often than not, I find myself sitting in the car thinking of all the things I wish I'd said. My brain took too long to process and in the heat of debate or discussion, I concentrated more on my own emotional stability than anything else. Disagreement is a trigger for me. I start to shake, my whole body clenching, my voice trembling, eyes teary---all over where I choose to purchase (or not) my food. 

In this last year, with crises blasting across TV and social media, my fear of emotionally vomiting all over someone else has kept me from saying much in my own words. I've found articles, letters, paintings, historical similarities, etc., and reposted them as a substitute for my own voice, but I have not really said anything myself. My mental health has pitched forward, unstable, and easily knocked over. I have allowed my disorder to take control and in doing so, I was silenced. 

As winter takes hold and we each wait and watch for the incremental shimmer of more light, I sit here with my coffee, wishing for my voice. Wishing for myself courage, patience, and most importantly, listening ears ready to hear with compassion and empathy. 

I am emboldened by those younger than I. As a generation, they seem to have learned something I have yet to and I am listening. They see problems with empathy and then ACT. They demand change and work with others to find solutions. Specifically, when looking at the overwhelming hurt that has tinged the city I grew up in, those in my generation and before seem to have just been happy to get through it. This younger generation is fighting back and raising awareness. Creating hope and a path to solutions. At the least, creating a place to exchange stories, ideas, reflections, and a listening ear. I have watched them in awe and now I have had enough of watching. I will join them. Lending my voice and my ears, my heart and my hands, my time, and my deepest hope for change and growth. 

That being said, if you are in the Bay Area on the 27th, I highly recommend joining me and other Paly/Gunn Alumni, teachers, current students, and community members as we enter into dialogue about Resilience and Self Care. All are welcome. The more we hear, the more we'll understand. Please come and hear, listen, and speak. The event put on by WOPAC (Well-being and Openness in the Palo Alto Community) will be at Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road in Palo Alto, from 2-4pm in the Embarcadero Room. Join me as I take a measured step forward and learn to speak up, listen, and act. 

I will no longer be silent, but when I speak I wish to do so in order to lend my experience for understanding and to listen in order to better serve. I hope to go out into the world stronger and ready to assist. Deep breath and...