Finding my Voice

It’s been a little silent here.

While I don’t claim to have an audience, nor do I write for the benefit of anyone in specific, I also know that I feel a little ashamed that a year has lapsed without a story.

I mean, there ARE stories.  MANY stories.

We have traveled to Portugal and France with Josh & Vanessa. I spent a spring break in Prague, following and driving up the Coast of France and drinking beer in Belgium (okay, that part was Ray).  I have taken students to Disneyworld.  And Disneyland.  And to celebrate Remembrance Day at the Vimy Ridge.  I went to Hawaii with my best friend.  I visited Quebec City and Ottawa and Boston.  I just got home from Budapest.  I have 100+ days on the road, each with a story to be told.

And I really want to tell them.

But somewhere in the middle of it all, I lost my voice.

I became worried about whether my stories were worthy of being told.

I became fearful that my stories were being judged.

I became anxious that I wasn’t writing them fast enough.

I made a list. Every story I needed to tell.

I became concerned about the order I told them in.

I came fixated on whether anyone cared that I wrote them.

I made another list.  And then another.  Then I made a list about the lists I needed to make.  Then I deleted the list because the list wasn’t a good enough list and put “make new list” on my to do list.

(As you can tell, this is a super effective strategy to getting things done.)

Then I stressed.  Too much time had passed.  It was like that homework assignment you just kept pushing off.  And pushing off.  And pushing off.   Until you cross the threshold that “I have time” turned into “why did I do this to myself.”  Procrastination’s a bitch.  So is anxiety.

So then, the guilt set in.  And shame.

I hate shame.  I seem to carry a lot of it.  I’m stubborn like that.

So I did what any shame-filled anxious individual would do.  I stopped caring.  Then got angry.  Then sad.  Then frustrated.  For a moment I was ambivalent.  Then back to sad.  I’d like to say I looped through them in an orderly fashion, but I’m pretty sure on most days I occupied all these states at the same time.  If you think it’s exhausting just thinking about it, imagine living it.  But don’t imagine too hard. That’s exhausting.

So I blamed work.  I blamed moving.  I justified it with all the things in life that were higher priority on the to do list.  Kept telling myself I would get to it, on the weekend.  Christmas holidays.  Spring break.  Summer.  Then I justified it (to myself, because truthfully I was the only one critiquing my actions) by saying that I was “too busy traveling” to write.  Or that I was just “too in the moment” to focus on writing my stories.

But have you ever met someone with an anxiety disorder?  Little secret:  we don’t like “in the moment” very well.  We’re more the “obsessed about the past while simultaneously trying to control every single aspect of the future to negate any possible pain, hurt of discomfort that could come our way” type.  I don’t recommend it.  It usually doesn’t work out as well as you’d think.

Travel is a story of my greatest anxieties, coming head to head with my greatest joys;  it is an overwhelming sense of being present that is abundantly uncomfortable for those of us who walk the road laden with anxiety.  But in the world of social media, you only get to see the version of that story I want to tell.  So here’s some truth for you – it’s filled with lies.

And somewhere, in the busy, and the excuses, and the anxiety, and the lies, and the shame – I lost my voice.  And frankly, I’m just not okay with that anymore.

So I am reclaiming my narrative, right here, right now.  I’d like to write some truth for you.  I’d like to tell you my stories.  Mostly about travel.  A few about living life with anxiety.  A few about, well, whatever the hell I want.  This is my blog after all.

And I’m writing for my huge audience of…well…maybe no one.  That’s cool.  If you are here, and you are reading – thank you.  If you, for any reason, have decided my ramblings are worth a few minutes of your day, I’m honoured.  (And if not – well – you aren’t reading this so I guess it doesn’t matter).  Just to be proactive, I’d like to say I’m sorry.  I apologize in advance for my rambling, (often) excessive number of photos, handful of expletives, and (guaranteed) spelling mistakes.  I hope you can look past it all for the truth buried at the root.

I’ve been motivated and inspired recently by a few bloggers/writers who have brought to the table a whole lot of honest dialogue that made me feel a little less alone in the world.  And so I want to do the same.

But mostly, I am doing this for me.  When I was younger, I would write.  And write.  And write.  It’s how I processed the world.  It’s how I survived the world.  And now, I don’t.  I get lost in my own head.  Some days I can’t hear my own voice at all.  And well, it’s time to change that.

So I’m on a mission. To find MY voice again.  To give her some oxygen so she can breathe and thrive, as she so deserves.  So with all the courage I can muster, I am going to try and drown out all the other voices in my head.  The ones that tear me down.  The ones that tell me that this is ridiculous, and that I’m not good enough.  And I’m going to write anyway.  Spelling errors, anxiety, and all.

Welcome to the journey.

2 thoughts on “Finding my Voice

  1. I hear you. Loud and clear. Thank you for the courageous example. I don’t know if it matters (says my little, hiding in the corner self) but I am here reading, and I enjoy your words and pictures. (insert slow clapping here)


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