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If we were having coffee: Finding my voice

Joining the rest of the flock.
On the way to the gathering.  (Red-winged Blackbirds)

Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice 

Thursday's sunrise.
Thursday’s sunrise.

If we were having coffee, I would be thrilled to see you again.  Come on in!  Let’s grab our beverages — coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water or, since it’s later than usual, an adult beverage of beer or wine — and have a seat in the living room this evening.  It is warm and cozy there, and maybe if the clouds part, we’ll get a glimpse of some stars when we look out the windows.

Turning around during Thursday's sunrise.
Turning around during Thursday’s sunrise.

How are you?  What have you been doing lately?  Did you attend a Women’s March today?  Did you travel anywhere?  See anything new and different?  Get together with family or friends? Have you read any good books or watched any good films?

Brought down by the wind.
Brought down by the wind.

I finally finished reading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.  The  2015 movie (on DVD from Netflix) arrived in our mailbox this week.  M and I will watch it tonight.  I found the book difficult to read for about the first half of it, then I either grew used to Hardy’s style or the story picked up.  Whatever the case, it became easier although I continued to take it slow and easy.  Far From the Madding Crowd was first published in 1874 when Hardy was 34 years old.  It’s a love story, the kind with love found and love lost and love found again.  I’m looking forward to watching the movie.

A dark sunset.
It looks dark, but there is light on the horizon.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage I would tell you that it has been dark, gray, and gloomy here the past few days.  Sometimes sunrise or sunset would bring us a glimpse of the sun.  Sometimes the light would peek out from between the clouds during the day.  But mostly we have had heavy cloud cover, fog, and misty rains.  More rain is coming tonight and tomorrow.

Light spreading across the marsh at the Point.
Light spreading across the marsh at the Point.

If we were having coffee or tea or something else to drink, I would tell you that I regret not being at the Women’s March on Washington today.  I could give you a list of reasons why I didn’t go, including that I’ve been ill.  All would be true.  I’ve been dealing with painful IBS problems lately.  I suspect it’s part of the aftermath of the election.  It is difficult to travel anywhere when dealing with such irritation.  There were other things involved in my decision, but this afternoon I came to realize that the biggest part of my decision not to go was that I have been silencing my own voice.  I have been doing that for a while, but more so since the election.  I could call it a result of being shy or an introvert, but it comes down to fear.

The light continues to spread.
The light makes the grasses glow.

I followed the Women’s March (or more correctly, the Women’s Marches) on Twitter and Facebook and wherever I could find them.  There were so many brave women expressing some of the very things I have been finding it difficult to express.  Some of the signs they carried were hilarious and no less important because of their humor.  I watched and listened to Ashley Judd recite a beat poem written by 19-year-old Nina Donovan from Tennessee.

I am a nasty woman
I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust…

I am sure you’ll have no problem finding Ashley Judd’s rendition at the Women’s March if you do a quick search for it.  The original, recited by the author, Nina Donovan, can be found here.  Very powerful stuff.

The light grows.
The light grows brighter.

Even here at the blog, I have been silencing my voice.  While it’s true I have mentioned politics several times, usually in the course of a coffee chat, I have not told my stories, I have not shared my experiences, and I have not explained exactly why that man “who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust” made me so uncomfortable, anxious, and yes, afraid.  From his terrible display of making fun of a handicapped man to his own words admitting that he sexually assaults women, DT brought me back to events in my life that I thought I had left behind.

All the grasses, joined together in the light.
All the grasses, joined together in the light.

What needs to be counted on to have a voice? Courage. Anger. Love. Something to say; someone to speak to; someone to listen. I have talked to myself for years in the privacy of my journals.”

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

It's almost as if the light is coming from within.
It’s almost as if the light is coming from within.

If we really were having coffee, sitting down with each other face to face, I might begin to hesitantly tell you some of my stories, stories I have told a select few but otherwise have kept silent about.  Maybe you would tell me some of your stories.  And in the telling of those stories, maybe the pain that has been growing in my gut would begin to ease.

Sliding slowly into the water.
Sliding slowly into the water.

Maybe, after we told some of our stories, we would talk about writing and how writing can help us heal from those stories of our past lives.  Maybe we would talk about how stepping out of our comfort zones, of joining with others, will help with that healing.

One more look at the light on the grasses before we leave.
One more look at the light on the grasses before we leave.

If we were having coffee or tea or something else, I would thank you for listening, for sharing your stories, for helping the world heal just a tiny bit, person by person, one story at a time.  I would tell you how grateful I am to all of the people who marched today, and how just watching and listening lifted my spirits and gave me hope.  And I would tell you that my days of staying home, of silencing my own voice, are over.

Goodnight, Sun.
Goodnight, Sun.

If we were having coffee, I would thank you again for visiting, and give you a hug if you’re amenable to hugs.  There was no sunset to watch this evening because of the clouds.  I made a salad and we’re getting ready to bake some pizza for dinner.  You’re welcome to stay a while and enjoy some food with us.  Maybe you’d like to watch the movie, too.  Or we can sit around later and share more of our stories.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Light in the darkness.
Light in the darkness.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Thank you to Diana for hosting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

51 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Finding my voice

  1. If we were having coffee, I wonder how much talking you’d get out of me! I’ve been so tired, between this cold and year end. I think this will be a much better year than last year, but not yet. And that’s okay – I’m glad to be working after getting laid off in 2014.

    Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, a cup of hot tea is perfect for right now. I did not march today, at least not physically, because going to a place that had a March was not possible. I have been reading about them and I am sure the news tonight will bring me up to date.
    I decided today that, although I don’t have a word for the year, I do have a phrase, a promise from myself to myself. I will be true to myself. I will not keep quiet for fear that someone will no longer like me. While I will not deliberately provoke, I will not shy away from expressing my thoughts and feelings, respectfully and as reasonably and intelligently as possible. I will not call names or put down or demean, but silence gains nothing. Like you said, it’s time to speak out.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So enjoyed this post. I watched marches today and was inspired and my heart was lifted by the courage and conviction of all of the marchers – sisters and brothers. I am amenable to hugs and thank you for your as I return it to you. Speak, speak up and speak again. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just looking at patterns for crocheting a pink hat, Elisa. It’s been years since I crocheted anything, but I think I remember how to do it. It was, indeed, beautiful and loud. 🙂

      Like

  4. Hello Robin, thank you for this brave and honest post. I want to say to you that we find our voice when the time is right and so often because some outer event or person causes us to feel that feeling, express that thought ‘I shall be silent no longer!’ Perhaps the man who is your president is doing something positive. As a result simply of him being himself, American women will find the strength to be themselves too. Perhaps a lot of change will come that will be ultimately wonderful and uplifting and give rise to a stronger, healthier society. i never spoke my truth for 42 years, then it broke out of me and I had to listen as well as feel. It was a turning point in my life that dispelled depression, illness and debilitating shyness. Now of course, you can’t shut me up 🙂
    I have been looking for news of the women’s marches but have found nothing much, except I have Ashley Judd’s speech waiting for me on You Tube, along with a couple of others.. I am hoping that means they were peaceful events and everyone got home safely. Sending you wishes of strength and love and also inner peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol, Pauline! I’m glad nobody can shut you up. 😀 I hope that you’re right, and that what is happening now will help us all find the strength we need to make this a more compassionate, inclusive country and world.

      As far as I can tell this morning, all of the marches were peaceful. I did wake up to find our new government’s propaganda machine has been putting out “alternative facts” on the numbers when it comes to how many people showed up for the inauguration vs. the Women’s March. I find it quite frightening that the president’s spokespeople are moving from calling the news “fake news” to calling their information “alternative facts.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The film of “Far from the Madding Crowd” is a mixed success…it does a wonderful job of capturing the camaraderie of the English Wessex laboring class, and Carey Mulligan is beyond perfect, as is Michael Sheen. Big parts of the story get left out/confusingly shorthanded, though.

    Portland had over 100,000 turn out for the march. I wasn’t among them, but I was in support of them. I hope that the protests cement into leadership.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can see why it was mixed, David, mostly for the reasons you mentioned. My husband hasn’t read the book and he was somewhat confused at the end. I thought Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen were wonderful, too.

      I hope the same about the marches. I noticed today the Womens March website has 10 Actions/100 Days on their website in an attempt to follow up on the marches.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I too wish I could have matched today but with my back still giving me pain, I am staying off of my feet. I did try to follow online. I wished the networks would have broadcast some of it.
    I spent most of the day amsciuring Facebook for pictures of marches all over the world and sharing them.

    It was fun. It was challenging. It was exhausting. But boy was it exhilarating!

    I also hope and pray that all this energy and leadership will manifest as change come mid term elections in a little less than 2 years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad I did it. It was exhausting yet exhilarating. I heard from a lot of people letting me know that it made a difference to them and that feels good! Once I realized people were sharing, I went back and changed the privacy on all of the posts so they could be shared outside of my friends circle. It was amazing to see all of the likes and comments!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope that your body feels more comfortable soon, and that you can let the fear seep away into the earth far from your mind, so that your voice returns clear and sure. It’s always such a delight to see your images in my in box….they have such a magical quality, a way of capturing light which is all your own💞

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Robin, I am still fairly new here, but your posts, really conversations over hot chocolate (it’s still cold and snowy here) and stunning images are an amazing addition to my morning. Thank you so much.

    I understand your reluctance to give voice to those buried stories. And I’m beginning to understand the catharsis that comes from sharing (some) stories through writing.

    I feel really gross about leaving a link to a specific post on my blog here in your comments section. Please know that this isn’t an attempt at self promotion. Instead, I hope you’ll see this as my (awkward and unfortunately long-winded) way of responding to you.

    http://www.almostunsalvageable.com/still-moving-forward/

    Hope you get feeling better soon!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Gabe. 🙂 Don’t feel gross! I appreciate you leaving the link. Not only did you give me the gift of sharing one of your stories, you also gave me a chance to get to know you a little better.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful post, Robin, along with your stunning photos. I love your opening quote (and I may steal it.)
    I saw a sign today on FB. I think it was from the Boston march. It said something like, “So bad, even an introvert is here.” I probably would not have gone, if I didn’t have others to go with, although everyone was so friendly and willing to “adopt” others. If there is another march, and you can do so, find a friend or group to go with.

    Then again, though the marches were a strong show of feeling and solidarity, it’s still going to take a lot of work as follow-up.
    Good for you for finding your voice. I think sometimes it requires a catalyst, or perhaps it’s simply time.

    My husband and I enjoyed the movie. I don’t remember the book well enough to compare, but I think there were definite differences.

    As far as beverages–did you know red wine hot cocoa is a thing now? We may have stopped at a winery after the march and had some. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 I saw that sign (about the introverts). lol! It would have been the perfect sign for me. I agree about going with friends. I did have a friend to go with (and an offer to stay at her house — she’s not far from D.C.). Next time, I won’t turn her down. 😀 I have had a chocolate red wine that was amazing so I’m pretty sure a red wine hot cocoa would be awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is an important post. I didn’t go to a march either…for some of the same reasons. I also regret that I didn’t attend. But there will be times we do step out of our comfort zone and do things that are important though uncomfortable. And I agree, writing helps. In my experience each time I tell my story a thin layer of grief is scrapped off and flung to the stars. I grow. Other people join the cause. Mom and Dad smile somewhere on the other side of those stars. The world is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 I like to think that the world is good. And maybe what is going on now will in some ways be good, too, if only because it will get many of us to step outside of our comfort zones and start participating in life and the world.

      Like

  11. I’m not ready to share, but maybe we can both watch the film, I have a copy on dvd too. I’ll put on my pj’s, my slippers, and a big comfy jumper and watch the film with coffee in my huge mug, you know the one, you wrap your fingers around and it hugs you back.
    I’ll think of you while I watch the film, I’ll hug the cup a little tighter when I do.
    In all these years I’ve only shared once and, “if you remember nothing else”, they said, “remember this… It wasn’t your fault”.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful images to go with a wonderful post. I so believe that writing helps me deal with all sorts of things.
    It is fine and dandy to march if that is what you are called to do. If not, that is okay too – there are other ways of sharing our voice. Ashley’s reciting was amazing (thank goodness for FB sometimes. It really does keep me in the loop at times!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale. 🙂 I thought her recitation of the poem was amazing, too. As for writing, it’s been a lifeline of sorts for me and I’d forgotten that. I am glad so many blogging friends have been around to remind me, either through their own blogs or through visits to mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Feeling that you have to keep silent can be a terrible strain on both body and mind. I’ve had some terrible things happen to me in my lifetime and have mostly talked it all out but sometimes I still feel stifled – mostly by an internal censor. I hope you start feeling easier soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Val. 🙂 Yes, it does put a strain on the body when all that stuff is internalized. And oh yes, the internal censor. Now there’s a part of me that is good at times (wouldn’t want to go around blurting EVERYTHING…lol!), but is not so good at other times (when things need to be gotten out).

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I didn’t participate in a march either, mainly because I had signed up for a series of writing classes for six Saturdays in a row without realizing the date conflict. After seeing all the news (the real news that is) about the marches, and seeing my Facebook feed, I was very moved and felt so proud of all the women who did march. I think it was a life-changing experience for those who went. Now the administration is presenting “alternative facts,” making it essential that we continue to rise up and speak out, finding our voices, as you say. It is going to be a tumultuous four years, and I believe it will be only four, or less. Protest and speaking out are our only way to fight back.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you, Cathy. I think it will be four or less. We’ll have to wait and see. Not that the alternative (the VP) is much better. I think there are some in Congress who are overjoyed to have the opportunity to roll us backwards. The winds of change that have been propelling us forward have frightened a lot of folks who don’t seem to understand that you can’t really go back.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. My dear friend – I marched, and it was so uplifting. But I was also consciously marching for those who wanted to be there in spirit but just could not for whatever reason. I have not been completely afraid to use my voice (as you know from my facebook feed I am sure!!), but I was also often holding BACK and actually getting out into the streets has been new for me within the last two years. This election…I firmly believe after Saturday that this election has now created a a movement. One which SHOULD have stayed together after Obama was elected…but complacent set it. Complacency. Ugh – no MORE! Check out the Indivisible website as this movement grows. My local women’s march organizers are now setting up postcard writing house parties for this weekend so that we keep the pressure on our elected officials. Our stories MEAN something. I know they are often hard to tell. I do understand that. But I also firmly believe that telling them helps YOU as well as those who hear them. Bravery. Vulnerability. Determination. Solidarity. These will be critical components of pushing back against President Cheeto Face 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. President Cheeto Face. lol!!! Thank you so much, Christina. 🙂 I have indeed been watching you grow (either through your blog when you were blogging or on FB). I did sign up for updates from the Indivisible website as soon as I heard/read about it. I’m supporting and getting updates from other groups that are behind causes that are important to me, too. The ACLU, for one. I also got in touch with a local women’s group that marched in Ocean City (our local sister march which I would have joined if the IBS hadn’t been so bad at the time). I was hoping to find a women’s (Democratic) group in my own county, but there isn’t one (I suspect they are mostly staunch conservatives in this county). The group I contacted have graciously invited me to attend their meetings (next one is Feb. 20) which I will be doing, and joining them in mailing postcards as well. And as if that isn’t enough, I volunteered to help with the website and email aspects of local environmental group. That was in the works before the holidays, and I’m looking forward to it.

      Like

  16. How I enjoy your sunsets! So beautiful!
    I thought the 2015 movie was well done, but I am also fond of the 60s one with Julie Christie. (It has one of my spouse and my favorite romantic quotes in it, which wasn’t in the latest version. “And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be— and whenever I look up, there will be you.” -Gabriel Oak)
    Sorry to hear that your IBS is kicking up. You may be right about its relation to fear. Louise Hay in ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ says that it is “fear of letting go of the old and unwanted.” I love her wisdom and find it helpful when problems arise, as a way of inquiring into the more deeply rooted causes. It is amazing how a shift in our thinking can have such profound effects on our bodies. I wish you prompt relief!

    Like

  17. Thank you for this cuppa and for your honest musings (as always) ❤

    I am struggling with where and how to share my voice…how to be heard while not drowning out anyone else’s voice and so here I am…

    We did march on Saturday in my home town and it was lovely. It felt like a good next step and felt good to be surrounded by like-minded people but I have such anxiety over what’s already coming down the pike and all of the work that lies ahead of us. One step at a time, I guess, right? Roll up our sleeves and stay aware and busy and as positive as possible…and practice self-care!

    Hope your week is off to a nice start!

    Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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