When I was younger my voice was loud. It was ferocious, and irreverent, and it could never be “shushed,” much to the chagrin of my parents I’m sure. My father used to tell me, “you will either take over the world, or you are in for a rough road.” I didn’t believe him at the time. I didn’t really believe a lot of what people told me. To me the world was a beautiful place, even with all of its fatalistic flaws. I swear that I could often see the beauty emanating from people all around me. Every experience was intense, and fraught with emotion. Every reaction was emotional and over the top; and while this made me somewhat of a drama queen, I lived every day to its fullest, and I wasn’t sorry. I was a writer, a passionate lover, a rebel behind the mask of a well-spoken honors student. I had big plans.
But gradually the road did get rough, and my voice got shushed, and the beauty faded. I got violently swept into the monotony of day-to-day living. I had a job to do. I became an indentured servant to my husband, children, boss, the PTA, the Girl Scout troop, the soccer team. Though much of this brought me moments of joy, somewhere in the jumble I lost my voice. No more marathon poetry writing sessions with the Indigo Girls blaring in the background or 4 am coffee with an inspiring but un-dateable 40-year old actor who made my heart race. I wasn’t sad, or angry, or resentful; I was just existing, quietly and apologetically.
Finally, at the age of 36, I can feel a familiar sensation rising in my throat. Despite fitting into a lot of categories: wife, mother, working mother, young mother, 30-something, struggling with body image, struggling with middle-age…I am on the verge of finding that controversial voice. I have begun to see glimpses of that beauty amongst the shades of gray that have muted my world for so long.