Finding Your Voice….Without Losing Your Mind

Eventually, it happens to all of us.

Some sooner; others more later than does them good.  A lucky few have it from the get go.  For the rest of us, it comes to us as it will.

New life; mid-life; end of life.  Job lost; job found.  Joy.  Tragedy.  Marriage.  Divorce.  Mercury in retrograde.  Full Moon.  No moon.  Too many hormones; too few.

The Tipping Point.  The Unstoppable Groundswell.  The “Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore,” show-stopping line in the sand.

The day we wake up and say, “I’m done.”   Done with a major, tattooed capital D done.

Done.  Over.  Through.  Mad as hell, DONE.

Done with the  misogynistic boss; the sabotaging, subversive employee; the condescending coworker. Had enough of the hypercritical in-law; the gossipmonger frenemy.  ‘Bout ready to pop the discounting spouse; the attorney with attitude; the crappy contractor.  So completely over the client who takes advantage; the abusive customer; the snotty service rep.

We’re no longer willing to be discounted, degraded or deliberately demeaned.  We’ve finally found our voice.  And we’re ready to tell the world.

We shower-script our exits; rehearse ‘I’ll show you’ speeches; plot befitting endings while streaming old episodes of Dexter.  In short, we get a tad bit carried away.

And though I am sorry to interrupt, (since you are clearly having a very good time) I do have to urge you (most vehemently, in fact) to pull back those reins.  Because, Nellie, you’re about ready to get yourself into one mighty big heap of trouble.

So, take that resignation letter out of the inbox; put away the pepper spray; redact that tweet and consider this:

1) The Dastardly Nature of Drastic Measures.  Do not blow up your life.   Are you listening?  I’ll say it again, because it’s very, very important:  Do not blow up your life.  (At least not without thinking things through.)  You are in the middle of your very own existential tsunami so get advice; give it time.  If after exhausting all the ‘let’s fix this’ alternatives, you still believe that drastic measures are required, then okay.  But first, develop a rational plan, vet it with your ‘team’ and then go forward; clearly, soberly.

2) The Continuum of Pent-Up Demand.   Think of your emotions as points on a continuum.  By staying silent, you’ve been hanging out at zero.  When you finally get in touch with how angry you are, (about having swallowed your words for soooooo long) you’ll find yourself suddenly rocketed into the land of ten.  Productive change happens at that place in the middle.  Stay cool until you find it.

3) The Complexities of Anger.  Anger turned inward leads to depression; turned outward, can get you twenty-to-life.  Own your anger, but find appropriate, self-supporting ways to express it.  (Kickboxing is a personal favorite.  Nothing like punching that bag.)  Imposing your anger on someone else?  Not so much.

4) It’s Not Their Fault.  If you’ve gone for years letting ‘them’ get away with it, then ask yourself, who’s really at fault here?  Before you shoot, think about how you have enabled ‘their’ bad behavior.  And then ask yourself, is this relationship, this job, worth saving?  What would need to happen to make it productive, positive and healthy?  And from there, be the instrument of change.

5) It May Not Work; They May Not Get It.   Or, ‘they’ may not care enough to get the relationship back on track no matter what you do.  Finding your voice, invariably means leaving people and situations behind.  It’s just the way it is.  Which is not to say it’s easy; because it’s not––but you will get through it––you will.  And remember, you don’t need to make those big break-up speeches, nor do you have to detach completely.  Sometimes distance is all that is required; at others, it will be better to ‘go gentle into that good night.’

It may take time to find the right melody, the steady beat, but eventually, you will find that pitch perfect voice of yours.  It takes practice, but it’s there, waiting to shine through.