When the Quiet Ones Roar

I sometimes feel that people misunderstand. Not about me necessarily. Communication doesn’t come easily for any of us, but it’s especially difficult for the quiet folk. When the quiet ones roar, it often comes out as a meow, if even that.

I come from a family of “do-it-yourselfers.” We were all independent, which is why I broke my arm at four years old. I was the big girl and could do it by myself. I grew up being proud of my independence. My low maintenance came later in life. Somewhere along the line, my interpretation of my independence was to not ask for anything. To not protest or complain. I was the girlfriend who didn’t need you to call her all the time. The wife who didn’t want to complain about the toilet lid and the hair stubble in the sink. I didn’t cry over needles or bugs or small drama. I scoffed when others did. Dammit! I was proud of that.

Truth: Independence doesn’t equal not needing or wanting. Introversion doesn’t either. It only means we find our inner life, our thoughts, and feelings, are more captivating than all the outside drama the others have going on. Jersey Shore, Kardashians or whatever reality T.V. show holds not a drop of drama more enticing than the fantasy going on in my head. We are like cockroaches. We can survive on remarkably little outside emotional support. But that doesn’t mean we don’t desire it sometimes. When we are cared for and loved in the best of environments, we blossom into the Grace Kelleys, the Johnny Carsons, and the Meryl Streeps of this world.

We want the compliments

The quiet one in the corner of the room will light up like a child watching the Christmas day parade if you compliment her, but all she might say is “Thank you.” Givers of compliments sometimes mistake that for arrogance. Or indifference. The truth is the quiet one doesn’t know how to express her thanks or to encourage more compliments. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel like a beauty queen for that moment. We want the compliments. We want our day as prom queen or the Belle of the ball. Look at Cinderella. You can’t get a better example of what almost every girl wants.

059a949e2bb16ae2647b2a9dc8010640It’s easy to know what most girls want. Or at least what they don’t want. Quiet ones need coaxing as they express their needs. The trouble is, that’s not likely to happen. Not many see the need. Because the quiet one can’t express her needs, only the loudest one gets heard. It’s not that no one is listening even. Yes, there are those that don’t care what others want, but I have found that there are those that did care, but I never spoke up.

I’m on a mission to teach speech to the speechless, to give voice to the voiceless. If all you think you can ask for at this time is just cinnamon gum instead of wintergreen, then speak up. There’s a group of people who are listening. I know you’re there. I’ve met you in the store. I’ve talked to you at church. We’ve spoken on the internet. In the quiet whisper at night. In the tear that drops from your eye. You have spoken. Now it is time to voice those desires.

You see, sometimes it hurts. It hurts to ask for something knowing that you will either be ignored or told to hush. Not now. Later. It isn’t your time. We learn early that those in charge don’t care. Sounds harsh? From a child’s perspective, it seems true. The parents are overwhelmed with living and surviving. Some children realize this and will move their wants down farther on the list.

We are not children anymore.

I don’t mean to assume that only girls are struggling with this issue. Not true! My writing is affected by my personal experience. Feel free to throw in some male perspective. My latest read is Aspergirls: Empowering Females With Asperger Syndrome by Ruth Simone

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Rainbows and Taxes

The trick to having a happy life is knowing who you are and what you need at this stage of life.

I often get caught playing against two sides. The wall that is solid brick and constant. The unchanging realities. The weather. Death. Life. Taxes. It’s true to its word and never changes. You always know where you stand, but it is unforgiving if you slam against it.

The other is not a wall at all. Plasma. Morphing. Changing. Moving. It’s much like sinking sand. The wants, needs, and desires we all have. We want a house. College. We dream of success. It’s all intangible. The end of the rainbow. The stars of the sky. It can seem scary when the desires overwhelm us.

“Don’t seek to be happy; let everyone else chase after that rainbow.
Seek to be kind, and you’ll find the rainbow follows you.”
Richelle E. Goodrich

No one wants to live in an iron cage. To be contained without forgiveness will make your heart sink with defeat. You lose all motivation and wish only for death to come. We dream of running free or flying high in the air. If your life is constantly paying dues, living your life meeting the needs of others, being responsible, then your life is an iron cage. You are a bird in a cage.

It’s not all or nothing….

But, we all need a little support. We need fences and borders to help us along the way. Highways have markings for a reason. Road signs and access lanes keep us traveling freely. When we are developing our skills either as children or adults we need guidance. How do I travel overseas? Do I need a passport? Will I be searched at the airport? So you ask for guidance, consult the experts, get recommendations from friends and even strangers who look like they might know something about traveling abroad. If you have been a regular nomad your entire life, you don’t need these things anymore. You could write your own guidebook. Heck you probably already have.

Where are you?

The important thing to know is, what level are you in this life? Are you starting fresh or starting over? You’ll know because you’ll be asking questions and looking everywhere for answers. That bewildered look on your face really gives you away. That’s okay. It’s just one step at a time and then you’re on your way. Maybe you started over and have been on this journey awhile but you’re not sure if this is where you want to be. Maybe it’s an okay place, but it may be a bit boring. That’s when you start flexing some muscles. Add some play into your routine. You can push the boundaries a bit just to start a spark. It will be like your teenage years all over again, but without the braces.

Who are you?

Not many people will admit to being an old pro at life. I mean really, as they say, no one gets out alive. Some are more sturdy and knowledgeable though and to yell at them for getting off the safe path would just be silly. They might laugh at you. These are the ones who stare at the top of Mount Everest with a twinkle in their eye. “Yep,” they say, “I’m gonna climb that someday.” And maybe they will. If not that mountain then it might be another. You’ll find these people often helping out the Red Cross or United Way after a disaster. They’ll be reading to small children while their parents are stocking up on survival supplies. You might see them but you probably won’t because they are busy just living their lives.

“the image of those midwestern storms that rip up the world as you know it, and leave, like a sacrifice, a rainbow to make you forget what has come before.”
Jodi Picoult, Picture Perfect

There are the travelers and the nomads. Trailblazers and renegades. The gardener and the road builder. The scientist and the preacher. What do all of these have in common? You guessed it. They all started with one step in front of the other. No one is born fully whole.

Where are you? Have you recently started over? Do you even know where you want to go or what you want to see? Just know where you are now. Write it down and don’t be ashamed. If you were wanting to travel you would start with brochures. You would read up on the places that sound interesting then learn what you need for the journey.

Some books that inspired me:

El Camino road by Shirley Maclaine
The ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes