“It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”
― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
I love and geek out on astrology (I’m an Aries, Moon in Gemini, Aquarius Rising). And recently after dinner with some friends, the topic of Chiron came up. For you astrology virgins out there, Chiron is defined as, “…a comet with a unique and erratic orbit. In the natal chart, Chiron is symbolized by the “wounded healer”. It represents our deepest wound, and our efforts to heal the wound. Chiron was named after the centaur in Greek mythology who was a healer and teacher who, ironically, could not heal himself…”
You can find out where your Chiron is placed by doing a free on-line astrology chart. And while Chiron tells you where you may have been hurt, it also shows you where you can offer the most help and aid to others.
My Chiron is in Gemini and also in the 3rd house. A double whammy of Fun since Gemini rules the 3rd House.
Gemini is a sign associated with new ideas, the nervous system, and most especially communication–expressing oneself via writing, speaking, dressing and any other means of saying Hello World, this is who I am and what I believe.
Which is interesting because…
If there was one word people would use to describe me as a kid (besides tall) it would have been quiet. Like super, good-girl, we-didn’t-even-know-you-were-in-the-room quiet.
I was terrified of expressing what I had to say. I would ruthlessly edit my replies to conversation, trying to weigh it for possible approval from who I was speaking to. I was sure that my voice sounded stupid and dull. I was perfectionistic about my artistic expression. Whenever our art teacher Ms. Schulz came to teach us to paint some fourth-grade recreation of Van Gogh or Monet, I would annoy her for I always requested to start over. I was never satisfied with my first creation.
It was frustrating being quiet. I felt like I had so much to say, that despite my tranquil and silent external persona I had “fire shut up inside my bones”.
I’m definitely not as quiet and inhibited as I used to be, but there is still a fragment of me that carefully weighs all that I have to say and write, who scans through any post on social media with an eye for editing. Who still wonders if her voice is stupid and dull.
Now, there’s nothing wrong or weird about being quiet or shy or introverted. We simply live in a space and time which values extroverts above all.
But, I do know how it feels to be trapped by merciless self-criticism and doubt, to feel that you have so much to say but feel boxed in by your past quiet moments and the nagging fear of what People Will Think.
In our noisy day and age, with the advent of Influencers and YouTube personalities and bloggers making millions, it can sometimes seem that our voices don’t matter at all. Why speak up if we’re not being followed by thousands?
Who really gives a fuck what we have to say?
And then there is the rampant criticism and oftentimes manufactured outrage: at times even the most progressive, open-minded, whole-hearted person cannot speak truthfully without offending someone’s personal political philosophy and identity and getting dragged for it.
I don’t know if your Chiron is in Gemini, but I do know that we all have moments when we are terrified to speak our deepest truths or even, hell, afraid to speak period.
We don’t want to hurt anyone. We recognize the difference between action and impact. We know we may still hurt people—even if we really didn’t mean to.
We long to express ourselves.
We are not sure if anyone out there is even listening or cares or wants to dig deeper into our work or know more about us, be our friend.
We long to express ourselves.
We can shout that we “don’t give a shit what people think” but as Brene Brown so eloquently says, “Pretending you don’t care what people think is its own kind of hustle.”
I think the people most loudly proclaiming they don’t give a fuck actually give lots of fucks. Like they are throwing their fucks out like Oprah. I think that people who are truly centered in their personal truth, just speak and express themselves.
Their not-giving-a-fuck is evident in their actions, not their proclamations.
It may sound banal, but the keys to our more authentic, spontaneous self-expression are already with us. They are inside. We may take courses, read books about public speaking or confidence building. But, we truly don’t have to buy our voice.
First, we need to do the hard work of looking at ALL the shit that made us quiet and afraid to speak in the first place. When did we first learn that our voice didn’t matter? Who did not listen to us? When did our words hurt someone—even when we really did not want them to?
This process is not easy, nor is it neat. We will have to look and sit with the pain of these moments over and over again. But, to speak openly and honestly from our hearts, we must look at what made it difficult for us to do this in the first place.
If it was easy for us to believe our voice mattered, to not overly worry about possible backlash, we would be doing it. Those tender parts that learned the opposite are still living in the past.
We need to bring them to the present.
The second thing is to practice. With yourself. Make a secret IG account, Tumblr, blog and post whatever the fuck you want on it every day. Record videos of yourself dancing alone or lip syncing in your room that you do not share with a soul. Practice expressing yourself with you first. As you get comfortable with your own damn self, it will make it sooooo much easier to express yourself around others.
The “final” thing is to just do it. Say what’s on your mind at the next cocktail party. Post that insight everyone is glossing over. Perform karaoke in front of people. Write, Speak, Express Yourself openly and honestly and realize that a) you can do this b) it’s okay if it isn’t perfect c) no one died when you did.
We catastrophize the “what ifs” of expressing ourselves not because we are dumb idiots but because our fears are rooted in very real (albeit usually young and limited) ideas of the times we did speak up and shit hit the fan. This is why I stress really sitting with our initial stories of why we are hesitant to speak. They are powerful and have such a bearing on how we act in the world today.
Now to be sure, this process is not some 1 2 3 BOOM = You are the most confident, loquacious and self-expressed person on the planet. We will wrestle. We may be awkward and receive zero attention for our words. We may get made fun of and be misperceived, disliked, even ostracized.
But, we will know the effervescent freedom of being in line with ourselves no longer laden with a million untold truths.
I am still wrestling with my own Chiron and move between the steps almost every time I choose to speak a truth. I’m doing it as I write this blog post. It is not easy for me to be open about myself and who I am, but I do it anyways because I know how the alternative feels and well, it sucks.
I am choosing to speak and to write and to express myself no matter how many people “like” me.
May you find your voice.
And use it.