the week I lost my voice…

the week I lost my voice…

being sick doesn’t come easy to me…I don’t like slowing down and I’m talking about mentally slowing down…physically slowing down is happening quite easily for me – is it age, is it laziness, is it giving up or is it ‘frankly darling I don’t give a damn’…but mentally slowing down, kills me…I know my body, I know it well…I knew I was getting sick because I was overworked, overwhelmed and simply out of time…I don’t give myself a break, I’ve forgotten how to…but my aging body, well it shuts down for me…

this time, it took my voice…

now I got many stares this week and I had many people say ‘jesus, stay off you sound horrible’ to which I replied – in a whisper ‘I feel fine, why would I stay off’…to which they replied ‘you’re crazy’…so I worked…but I worked without a voice and it taught me a valuable lesson…

I learned that I really love my voice and man do I use it…I never shut the fuck up…always poking, always prodding, always reaching for the phone, always asking questions, always answering questions…and I love it…I work for a living and I work damn hard…this week, I sat in my office unable to answer the phone – killed me as I saw phone numbers that were calling me back…killed me to not be able to pick up and ask the hard questions to the people trying to avoid my hard questions…and I’m sure when they got my voicemail, they breathed a sigh of relief and said to themselves ‘thanks be to god, she didn’t answer’…my blood boiled…

I need answers, people depend on these answers…is there funding for his schooling…does she qualify for home supports…why did his employer put quit instead of lay off on that god damn slip…did that lawyer call you back…did you get your money back…when are your exams…did you get your textbook yet…do you have your bus pass to get to work…did you get that interview…did you go to the grocery store…did you get to the food bank…is your resume done…how was your test…is your assignment back…are you still falling out of your bed…did you get your bathtub equipment…

my lovely, lovely voice…

I learned this week that the one thing my father taught me in this world was to speak up and never ever be spoken over…fight, god damn it fight for what you want and fight for what you know is right…fight, god damn it fight…I’ve often been told that I am my father’s daughter, cause man I fight everyday…not in a loud obnoxious way but in a way that is for the betterment of my clients and myself…

I was born to be self-sufficient and I was born to be an advocate…the loss of my voice taught me that this week…

i sat in a meeting this week and attempted to participate…attempted…I was sitting back listening and dying on the inside to interrupt, ask questions, redirect and offer suggestions…I tried a couple of times, a squeaky whisper escaped my lips and those who heard the whisper tilted their heads as if to say ‘what the fuck was that’ and laughed at my attempt and those who didn’t hear, continued to talk over my whispers…my insides turned warm for a bit and then I embraced it as a little exercise…and I thought, Christ imagine in a room trying to speak up, attempting to ask a question or clarify a point and no one hears you…imagine…and then it struck me, this is how my clients feel…descriptions of being laughed at, crippled by fear of the head tilts, nausea of being heard and ignored and thoughts of the unknown in a room of faces…it’s the everyday experience of those who have not yet become self-sufficient, have not yet learned to believe in themselves, who have not yet looked in the mirror and liked what they saw…sometimes the lack of being heard leads to screams and these screams are often viewed as illness, aggression, rudeness or lack of control when simply it could be a plea of ‘please listen to me’…

having a voice is having confidence in oneself to use that voice…it’s a choice of what to do with it and how to use it for the betterment of yourself and society in general…i met with a client this week who put up with my whispers and he looked at me when describing how school has changed him and said ‘I can finally look in the mirror and see my reflection and say you’re doing good kid, you’re doing good’ – I teared up a little and we both laughed as I did a jazz hands symbol with him at the coffee shop…instilling hope in others who haven’t found their voice yet is why I push myself to the brink of losing mine…that one sentence this week, that one smile, that one image made the experiences of this week with no voice matter…I was able to pass on to him the ability to hear his own voice, see his own reflection and finally after 15years admit, ‘I’m okay’…

I could write stories all day about my clients because it is them that gives me the drive to get up everyday and be willing to put myself out on a limb to walk alongside them on their recovery journey…how they get there doesn’t matter, I have all the time in the world…I work in an area where voices take on so many meanings…I work in an area where I challenge myself, my co-workers and my clients to challenge themselves and be open to an out of the box experience…I don’t like ‘cookie cutter’ interventions and I’ve been that person who will attempt a vision board to help a person believe that they are worthy of having a dream…I’ve been that person who will colour alongside a woman who has been called stupid all her life and who thinks she isn’t worthy of having a long term goal…I’ve been that person who will go to a stable in minus 19 degree weather to groom a horse with a person who has never felt wanted, needed and loved…I’ve been and I’ll always be that person who believes everyone has dreams, desires, aspirations and goals no matter what life has dealt them…and I’ll always be that person who will use her voice till there no longer is a voice to advocate for those who haven’t found there’s yet…my voice is worth hearing and I’ll teach you that yours is too…

my lovely, lovely voice, this brief loss of you has taught me a valuable lesson…

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