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Sometimes You Have to Lose Your Voice to Find It
Loss is a word that usually is associated with frustration, pain, sadness, perhaps denial, numbing out, avoidance & so many other descriptors in my experience. What if I told you though that some of the losses that I have experienced have lead me to a much stronger me. It is not that we seek these experiences. They are just a natural part of life it seems for most people. Losing things can be frustrating but losing a part of our health & or a loved one can feel devastating. When things are going along pretty smoothly I don’t believe that I make too much of an effort to strengthen myself or push myself out of my comfort zone. The cliché, “why rock the boat” may exist for brief periods of time during the smooth waters. Life is a roller coaster ride though & so is type 1 diabetes don’t you find? There are highs & lows in life & with diabetes. Do we try to smooth out the roller coaster ride of life? We each answer that question for ourselves. We don’t live in bubbles though so even if our own lives are going along smoothly, someone that we care about at any given time will be going through a struggle. The more we are connected to one another, perhaps the bigger the roller coaster ride. We get the privilege to be in other people’s lives through their celebrations, our celebrations, their sadnesses & our sorrows. If we were each simply there for one another during the celebrations then it is like being on half a ride & it just feels wrong to me. We each make decisions for ourselves. My decision though is that if I am a friend then I am all in for the whole ride & that means the ups & the downs. On the other hand the roller coaster ride of type 1 diabetes I would jump off of in a heartbeat if I could. None of us choose to have a health challenge. Why would we. I do not for one minute blame type 1 or the other health challenges that I experience on myself or anyone else. I loathe type 1 for the frustration that it is at times yet it has strengthened me in ways that I could have never imagined. If it has to be in my life, something good will come out of it…that’s my daily decision big time!
What if I told you that I was born with a whisper? As a young girl I was profoundly shy it seemed. I did not speak up much & was quiet around most people. I loved being around other people as well as some quiet time to read & make up wee stories & listen to music. I loved to listen to others speak & especially loved the sound of laughter. There was a tendency for me to sense people’s real moods or feelings even if their words were saying something different. Maybe that was the mini budding sociologist in me even back then. Inside I had so much to say to contribute to discussions but I kept all my words inside instead of joining in. My confidence was minute. How do you turn a whisper into a voice that you can hear? The answer may be quite different for each one of us. For me, finding my voice happened in a way that I barely noticed it even happening through life’s experiences. Suffice to say that today there is not a person in my life that would describe me as a person without a voice or quiet or shy. It is not that I changed but rather I got stronger, more confident, and let myself be.
This past winter I have literally lost my voice a few times. This spring again, I lost my voice temporarily literally. With strep & several super sore throats, my voice took a bit of a beating & had to rest for a wee amount of time. I was back to a whisper but a different kind of whisper then I had experienced while I was a wee girl. Can you whisper with enthusiasm? I do now. Why? It is a choice. I don’t ever want to lose my voice again. I don’t mean physically lose my voice. I mean the strong voice that speaks up to encourage others, love, care, reach out, tell others that they matter, the feisty voice that says when it is not okay at times, the let’s celebrate the little big things in life, the voice that makes me me. My heart’s hope for you is that you have found a strength & your own voice too.
The funny thing about losing my voice temporarily a few times during the last number of months is that my mind sounded louder. Man, humans think a lot right! That’s a great thing. Getting quieter helped me to get even more in touch with my thoughts so something good came out of the loss of my voice for those times. Recently I learned that my Grandma M use to lose her voice a great deal & also got strep pretty severely. We share that in common. The thing that I love to remember though rather than a shared lost voice is the sharing of moments that we both loved. Gran & I both loved tea time together. She always brought out her very best teacups & saucers for our teatimes together. To this day, every single day I drink my tea in the loveliest teacups & saucers that I cherish. I love the clinking sound of a teacup landing on its saucer. I kind of think that tea is the perfect drink through every moment of my life because it has a way of bringing cheer when I have felt unwell, a feeling of extra celebration when a happy announcement is made by anyone, comfort when there is a sad time, and gentleness yet strength all at the same time. Yes, I really, really love tea big time.
It is difficult to pinpoint when I started to find my voice. It may have begun slowly in university. When I became a mom my voice really became vividly present. The thing is though, I am not sure if it was motherhood so much as what it took along the way. Our first born son as I have shared before went through quite a scare when I was 6 months pregnant. The doctors & specialists told my husband & I that we were going to lose our son. The voice I heard louder than anyone else’s including the doctors though was the voice of faith. I had never felt so much peace in what would be anything but a peaceful situation. The peace was the absolute knowledge that our baby was going to be fine & we were not going to lose him. Now 6 foot 4 inches, our” little” boy is one of our greatest joys. Going through this instantly strengthened me as a person & as a mom. Once I found my voice there was no turning back. I had to live to the fullest, love to the fullest & be grateful every single day. I do & I am.
Almost 7 years ago I got the news that I had type 1 diabetes. None of us want to hear that news for ourselves or for anyone that we love. My voice though has gotten stronger exponentially. None of us want to have diabetes obviously. It is in my life though so you better believe that I am going to make something good come out of it. It means that everything in my life is lived with an exclamation mark as I have shared before. A whisper is a question mark. An exclamation mark is enthusiasm, joy chosen despite type 1 & other “365” challenges.
If we have the blessing of finding our real voice, what do we do with that? How do we use it for good in the world? We each answer that question for ourselves. Perhaps we speak up for others by advocating when they have not found his or her own voice yet. Or we can gently say the words that I know mean the world to me, “me too.” If each one of us finds our voice, we can gently change the world for the better by giving care & understanding to one another unapologetically, enthusiastically & boldly. Big,bold love.
That’s what my heart’s hope is for you always: big, bold love.
May this week ahead be used with our collective voices to send out more good into the world. The world needs more of that big time! Next Monday's sharing is "The Difference a Day Can Make." :)