I have been a fairly quiet person for most of my life (all my past significant others may beg to differ on this…..as one on one I can be quite verbal….and have a lot to say….!) I worked as a social worker in my career (have been retired now for almost two years). One of the comments that a psychologist gave me that I truly appreciated was that I work quietly in the background to do the best work that I can…..that I don’t call attention to myself or my work, but rather just attend to what needs to be attended to. Quietly.
So here I now am, and I find that I need to pay attention to all the ways that my voice has expressed itself. I had a dear friend recently walk into my home and say “This is you.” That got me thinking…a lot….
So I look around at my home, and I see that, if someone wants to know me, all they have to do is to look. I live in a home that resembles a cozy cabin, with lots of wood, and a “lived in” feel and look. My house is surrounded by trees, which I love. I have books spilling out everywhere. My art work (I have been painting more these days, now that I have more time) is there for others to see. My paintings all have pieces of me in them.
I have this blog. It’s interesting to me which of my friends follow this, and others that prefer other methods of getting to know me. No judgment, but an interest in noticing this. I pour my soul into this blog as well. And it is there for anyone who does me the honor of reading it. They will know me, and often in a way that others may not take the time to find out.
I dress very comfortably most of the time, especially now that I am retired. I make no major fashion statement, except to say that comfort is first and foremost the primary ingredient. I color my hair lighter these days, for fun (and so that the roots don’t show as much now that I am older…..and to help me feel brighter…) I struggle with weight, and the fluctuations in my weight are there for all to notice.
If someone pays attention, you can tell my mood for the day by how I walk, how I may or may not interact with those that I run into….how much eye contact I make, how much I reach out to pets passing by…..whether I smile at strangers or not……whether I venture out into the world or have a day of solitude within my home….We show ourselves in so many ways.
I get shy sometimes, and yet am pushing through this – both with this blog and with my paintings. I have had the honor of having several of my paintings accepted into a magazine. I am astonished that this is happening now, when I wondered what kind of life would be left now that I am no longer defined by my career. How lovely (and sometimes a bit anxiety provoking) to be noticed and appreciated. How different for me to put myself out there more…..how against the internal rules of not calling too much attention to myself….
Why not? Why not claim the right to express our voices everywhere? We really already have been expressing our voices out there, for those who take the time to notice. So, since we are already seen, why not embrace it more? I don’t need to yell and scream to be seen and heard, but I also don’t need to try and hide anymore. My voice is everywhere anyway. So is yours. So….let’s claim that voice, express who we are, and enjoy this journey….while we are still lucky enough to be here and be alive. We deserve to be here. We deserve to be heard. We deserve to be fully alive.