When I was 17 years old, I had to deal with the ugliness of having an inability to speak the truth. You see, I learned young to keep quiet and keep secrets. Don’t tell or there will be punishment and/or rejection. Fear was ever present and the world wasn’t safe.
I woke up one day with intense, stabbing pains in my stomach. My Mom took me to the hospital where I was asked repeatedly if I was sexually active. I refused to admit that I was. The doctor asked, my mother pleaded and still I said “no”. The terror that lived in my being of what would happen if my Mom found out was far greater than any physical pain you could have put me through. Even though my Mom was a loving, kind woman I was so wracked with guilt and shame that I just couldn’t speak. And so they removed my appendix, even though when they got in there they found nothing wrong with it.
Years later I found out that there had been an ectopic pregnancy. This caused irreparable damage to the tube on that side, filling it with scar tissue and blocking it completely. The appendix removal caused scarring on the other side which a few years later, when I was doing whatever I could to get pregnant, caused a second ectopic pregnancy that imploded, costing my the tube on that side and damn near my life.
All of that pain and suffering because I had lost my voice in childhood. I had been assulted; sexually, emotionally and physically by 3 sisters in my neighborhood and no one noticed. It has taken me many years to be willing and able to speak up for myself, and still I often have to remind myself that I am safe. That I am loved beyond measure and I can not be damaged by another human being unless I allow it.
I am posting this so that you may feel inspired to help a young person today keep or find their voice. Or perhaps an adult recover theirs. It is the most gratifying and humbling part of what I’ve chosen to do in my work and I am grateful every day for those that allow me into their lives to guide them in this way.