Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When Voice Matters

Counting Mutant and Girly asked me why I haven’t been writing.

I didn't have an answer.

Sure summer’s activities have kept me hopping. When I’m not running around, my body goes into shut-down-recovery mode.

I realized today, underneath it all is this soul sickening truth: voice.

Photo taken by Alvimann
Then I stopped by a dinner with the Parentals. My faux pas was simple enough. As usual it blindsided me. Three days later my ears still sting from the whispered correction.

Parental told about a notorious corner in their neighborhood: a blind intersection that all the residents ignore. As the story wove, it sounded as if Parental thought both the Sister at the table and I were in an accident there at one point in time. I asked Sister if she had.

She said no, but asked me about mine. Answering was my mistake.

Here is what I remember:

I was 15 and my friend freshly 16. A week previous my knee underwent the new endoscopic surgery. I only used crutches for a few days. Without crutches, Friend drove me home after some adventure. We cruised through that infamous blind intersection at about 20mph and met a 70ish Corvette.

Photo taken by photojock
Headlights clapped. My knee met Friend’s truck door. We were both a bit rattled, but nothing more. I hobbled the block to my house for Parentals. On the walk back and the rest of the evening Parentals went on and on about God’s miraculous protection that neither of us had a scratch from the accident.

Weeks later, Friend’s insurance company contacted my parents. After a few refusals, Parentals accepted their offer and praised God for the provision. Now they could get braces for me. The check came; shown to me and deposited; all with fan fair and glory.

After that, I never heard about it again. Years ago I determined the money must have absorbed into bills or something. Times were always tough.

Years later, Parentals found a different revenue stream and the braces plan moved forward. I protested; It was my senior year of high school and my desire for braces was simply cosmetic. My sisters needed them. I was put in my place with a lecture on ingratitude towards God. So, I quietly obeyed. In the middle of my senior year my mouth filled with metal.

Photo taken by imelenchon
Back to the dinner: I began to tell the story and within three sentences, Parental took over and added: “You had a gash on your forehead.”

I blinked. The glorious injury free, God’s protection haze began to dissipate. Foolishly I corrected.

The debate was on.

Not one thought completed before Parental’s correction put me back in place. A feeling of defensiveness began to build as Sister leaned over and whispered,

“It doesn't matter.”

And years worth of frustration flew out in a breathy whisper before the thought even hit my brain: “I don’t matter.”

Sister rolled her eyes and turned back to Parental.

I sat there as thoughts tumbled through:
My voice doesn't matter.
My story doesn't matter.
Don’t make Parentals upset.
Don’t antagonize Parentals.
It doesn't matter what stories they tell. It is their truth. That is what matters.

In Wonderland reality is relative to the one speaking. Truth can be a debated topic. As long as my voice agreed with those around me it was encouraged. If my voice disagreed then I either needed to defend it fiercely or shut my mouth.

And here I am. Filled with stories full of hope and healing still struggling with voice.