Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sound Reflections: Echoes of my Boots

It was a beautiful spring morning. I closed the car door and walked across the gravel parking lot, crossing the street and stepping onto the sidewalk outside the church. I smiled inside at the sound of my boot heels on the walk beneath me. I'd noticed it before – a small sense of satisfaction at the sound of the new boots clicking with each step. As someone who is in sneakers far more than anything even remotely resembling a dress shoe, and is far more comfortable in those sneakers, I had assumed the satisfaction was part of the healing from my sexual abuse... finally starting to take joy in being female... feeling good about myself... enjoying a sound which reflected that change... a sound which was... uniquely female. 

As I crossed the walk that morning, though, my mind suddenly flashed back to a conversation in my psychologist's office just a few days before. I'd confessed to him several weeks ago that when I become highly upset, I have a deep desire to throw things. I had been realizing there was evidently more anger buried inside than I'd wanted to admit, even to myself. In my last session I'd told him that as I'd thought more about it, though, I'd realized the desire really wasn't just to throw something. I wanted the satisfaction of throwing it against a wall and hearing it shatter into a million places. I'd come to realize that while there might be some physical release from hurling an object through the air, it would feel empty without the sound of it shattering as it hit the wall. It was the sound my soul was screaming for. The sound... shattering the silence.

I've lived most of my life in silence... without a voice. As I'd thought about that desire to throw something and hear it shatter against the wall, I'd realized that even when I couldn't find my voice... even when I'd wanted to hide what had happened... somewhere deep inside there was still a little girl who needed her pain and anger to be heard. The shattering glass would give sound to the silence... sound to the shattered soul. It would be heard.  It would give voice to the pain that I was unable to give voice to.

All of that flashed through my mind as my boot heels sounded on the walk that morning. As it did, I realized that yes, there was a new "female" sound to my footsteps... a sound I took satisfaction in. It was more than that, though. It was also... just the sound itself. Firm. Solid. The sound of the boot heels echoing into the silence of the morning... breaking the silence... announcing my presence. It was a sound that said "I am here. Hear me."

And in that moment I realized... I had been doing so much more than trading in my sweatshirt for a sweater; my sneakers for new boots. I was trading in my silence... SHATTERING the silence. As I reached for the door I smiled.  My boots sounded on the walk below me, echoing the cry of my soul: I am here. I matter. Now hear me roar... into the silence. 

-- jenn