I didn’t say anything when she stepped on my hand.
No, not a word or even a mutter of disturbance that a boundary had been crossed.
I just sat there, silent, mute.
Ten seconds later, she regained her proprioception and adamantly apologized for her misstep. I laughed it off—but internally, I was embarrassed by my lack of reaction to this strange occurrence.
Somehow, I felt like I was the one who had done the wrongdoing. I silently scolded myself for being in the way in the first place and then again for not speaking up when the mishap occurred.
Inwardly, I wondered how many times in my life I had chosen to stay silent rather than acknowledge my own pain. How many times did I feel that I was disturbing others with my pain or presence if I spoke up?
How many times had I ignored my own pain to appease those around me?
“Damn. It’s gotta be that throat chakra sh*t again.”
My voice has rarely been a source of strength or clarity at least in the spoken sense. I suppose that’s part of why an eating disorder became the unconscious choice when I couldn’t find the means necessary to actively voice and express my inner pain. The throat became the faulty bridge between an aching heart and an anxious disturbed mind.
It is also the reason why writing has become my healing and most resisted path at times. My heart knows how to heal in the very manner my mind fears. Even though my head knows that in order to get through pain I need to move further into the feeling, I still fight it. I still fool myself that I can think through it.
As humans we have a deep yearning to be seen, heard and truly listened to. We long for satsang, where hearts come together in sacred space to be seen and heard. It is that unexplainable healing feeling of being witnessed while suffering. I believe that this is a basic human longing, along with touch and love in order to feel as if we belong.
So here I am. My soul wants to speak. The fearful part of me wonders at the selfishness of lamenting about my past and present pains.
Then there’s that quiet, soft voice deep within that says: Keep going. Keep writing. Keep expressing.
We all have stories to tell. Stories of pain, sorrow, loss, rejection, misunderstanding and longing—even stories of success and triumph.
I am hoping that this is the year I will be brave enough to speak up. There’s a fire inside of me, burning brighter each day. I wish to be heard and seen in all my polarities and seemingly contradictory parts.
The fear tells me to stay silent, immobile and stagnant. My chakras begin speaking to each other in rapid procession.
“Alert! Alert!” We are not safe, the Muladhara, or Root chakra screams.
I am further excavating the debilitating and depleting grip to be perfect, whether through outward appearance or performance. It is that spidery, creative web turned in on itself becoming a suffocation device.
It is the power of creation or the power of destruction that I still use to weave around myself.
“I’m afraid to love and be loved,” my heart chakra—Anahata-–whispers.
Silence echoes from Vishuddha. Its deafening stillness is met with masked pain and unspoken truth.
This is the fairly normal internal conversation I have with myself on a day-to-day basis.
Most days, I feel unable to breathe, let alone break free.
Most days, I feel panicky and unsure where my steps are going.
Some days, I withhold food in attempts to manage the fear.
Other days, I overeat to numb it out.
And then, there’s still others where I exercise or smoke weed as escape.
But some days, I am able to breathe—maybe in a yoga pose where I’ve consciously chosen to slow down, or in the space of a loved one who sees and hears me,
Today, I am able to breathe a little deeper—and feel a little safer about expressing my words on paper—sharing this present piece of my story in hopes that my words fall on kindred ears:
My soul feels lighter now.
My steps back toward myself don’t feel as daunting.
My voice doesn’t falter as much.
Yes, the fear remains,
But it does not overtake me,
Even if just for one breath.
While I remember.
This is my voice.
The voice I am slowly stitching back into my periphery.
No, it is not perfect.
It is not always planned or pre-meditated.
When all I want to do is endlessly prepare,
And never take those action steps to speak and proclaim my space.
You could say this is just the beginning,
Of a long-awaited story.
The first chapter,
Of unwritten ones.
May my words find another,
In the space between,
And may this be the start of a year
Dedicated to speaking up,
For each other,
For the world.
And, to the girl who stepped on my hand:
Thank you for allowing me to feel
The inner sensation of unspoken pain
And to voice it to the world,
Even if after the fact.
I hope my voice finds you,
And your own denied pain.
And never untold.
This is the story I’m writing now.
Asato ma sadgamaya.
From ignorance, lead me to truth.
Tamasoma jyotir gamaya.
From darkness, lead me to light.
And, so it is.
Author: Anna Palmer
Editor: Deb Jarrett