Finding My Voice

Repressed. Stifled. Buried.

These words describe most of my life. Not in a poor me way, because it has certainly not been all bad (far from it), but these words do describe the backdrop that has colored everything, and has shaped who I am today. Always this unsettled, uncomfortable feeling like I am on the outside looking in.

I am used to not acknowledging what I think, what I feel, and pushing my needs so deep that I have often lost sight of who I am. It’s ingrained. Feeling shame, but not understanding why. Not allowing my essence to flow. At work and at play. Life in general.

The truth is I have never really believed that I am OK. Broken sort of. I have learned to work around all this of course, but the lack of confidence–the root cause–has never really gone away.

As I am discovering, many of these repressed emotions don’t ever really go away. They leak out in all kinds of other ways. Anger is a big one. Many emotions funnel into this one catch all emotion. That one I have become quite good at expressing. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I understand what Mark Twain means now. The anger has wreaked havoc inside.

But I have begun the process of untangling the mess I have created. I can’t change the things that have happened to me, but I can change how I feel about them, and more importantly, choose not to let them dictate who I am today, who I am to become.

Much of this shift began when I left my career of 23 years, about 18 months ago. I have been turning over those rocks one by one ever since. To see what’s been hiding under them. And there is an avalanche of rocks to choose from. But lots more light now to shine under them.

And I am learning something very powerful through expression. Learning to release those pent up feelings in a healthier way. Talking about what I feel. Figuring out what I want and saying it. Learning to listen to….to tune in to what my emotions are telling me. To act on them and not let them fester. My wife is helping me with this…with her love, support, and encouragement.

Writing about what I feel…another outlet I could never have imagined only a few months ago. This blog, for me, has become a godsend…literally. It’s helping me to make sense of the inner chaos, to work through and express things that are on my mind. I panic at times that I won’t have anything of value to say, or even anything to say at all. But I continue to dig, and the thoughts keep bubbling up from somewhere.

And singing. I feel the shift with this one especially. I have always loved to sing, but what used to come out was sort of flat….not much “oumph” behind it. But I have always felt that there is an inner “rock star” in there somewhere, as my friend Kurt put it.

The rock star is simply me. The real me. I am in the process of finding and releasing him. Rob, my voice coach, has helped me unlock what’s been buried for so long. And what’s emerging has life. Passion. Soul. A new sound.

“Who gives a shit,” he says. “Just let it fly.” And he’s right. And now I am.

I am slowly realizing that I have something to say.

I am starting to find my voice.

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27 thoughts on “Finding My Voice

  1. Jonathan, your posts move me. I always love that you’re so honest with your thoughts and feelings. You have a powerful voice. You may not see the immediate impact that it makes, but I believe it will have a huge ripple effect since your intention stems from love. Thank you for sharing, and continue to BE courage, strength, persistence, resilience, determination…and all the other wonderful qualities that you are.

  2. Yay! When we cease being who we are “supposed” to be, we find out who we truly are. It’s so liberating to sing, dance, laugh and cry without stifling yourself. And yes, we do it to ourselves. I have a nice image of you now, Jonathan, standing tall and happy and belting out a rock opera. Go for it.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this and did some head nodding – especially when you talked about anger and not being in touch with who you are, what you want etc. I’m excited for you that you are finding your way and have much love and encouragement to support you on this journey. Blogging is very therapeutic and by doing it so honestly as you’ve done here, you are helping others as you heal yourself.

  4. Jonathan,

    How cool. Go for it. We are going to get you an audition on The Voice!

    Just don’t stop writing. As much as it helps you, as you acknowledge here, it’s a beacon out to the world. Your insights, your sharing of struggle, all these things ripple outward and create moments of energy and a sense of connectedness in the readers, like me. So sing- and write.

    Definitely got to get you on The Voice.

    Tom

  5. It sounds like we’re having a similar experience as far as emerging into the world more thoroughly through music is concerned — I have played music all my life, but until about a year ago the idea of writing a full-length musical was purely a fantasy to me. I’m actually doing it now, and it’s been a scary experience, but there’s no question that it’s what I’m here to do.

  6. Your posts always bring lift to my wings and inspire – but especially this one! It so resonates with me. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and important story about your journey. It helps me in the discovery of my own voice as well. With gratitude. Namaste. Gina

  7. I came here through Viv’s blog. You post chimes, I sense for many. The courage to let IT fly is risky, needs small steps, practice, remembrance, yet each time we find a creative form for expressing this most potent energy … anger (often weighed down by fear of reprisal,) a small victory is won that inspires others. The alternative is indeed havoc inside. I like the way you put … “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” This basic energy (our manifestation derives from the fastest and most aggressive sperm 🙂 must find its channels to flow, and invigorate a purpose that, the more uniquely our own, becomes also universal …

    • Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and gracecefully put comments. I hate the havoc, but it’s taken me decades to try figure out what that is. And even at that, only a glimpse so far.

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