I don’t know when I lost my voice. Loud and brash in my twenties, I would stand my own with all comers.

Was it a life running after kids that quietened me? Certainly, four kept me busy. Then my mother-in-law died and, leaving two adopted kids with profound multiple disabilities, her two joined ours to make six. Six kids by the time I was 30, two requiring full 24-hour nursing care, is enough to silence anyone, but a fight was needed so I fought. Councils threatened with judicial reviews, social workers told to do better – it wasn’t our problem if they didn’t have the funds – the law said they needed to help, so ‘talk to your line manager, love, don’t chat shit to me.’

Everything was fought for, nothing given freely. I was strident and assertive and fierce.

Was it bereavement that stole my song? Or getting sick myself? Maybe it was the shame of not getting better? Was it the shifting of hormones or the cancer scare? Was it husband’s redundancy or the raising of teens, or the endless struggle with my weight? Or was it just being wrong? A loud woman in a world that wanted quiet.

I became quiet. I swallowed my words.

I see so many women reaching 50 now, realising that they have become quiet, have lived the last few years of their life with the sound turned down.

‘I used to be fearless,’ I hear them say.

‘I used to be brave,’ they whisper.

‘I used to sing.’

Today is my blog-averasry. I’ve been writing to you, dear reader, for a whole year. Inspired, and if I’m honest frog-marched, to write a blog by my mentor Siobhan McNally as part of the A Writing Chance award, I really didn’t want to write a blog. I didn’t feel I had anything to say.

Silenced in my isolated world, my voice a whisper, who’d want to read my jumbled words anyway?

Well, you do, dear reader, and for that I thank you.

In the early days, I called my words my musings, my mumblings, a bit of fluff, just messing about. Minimising my words and my voice like many of the women around me.

‘It’s just me,’ they say.

 ‘Going on,’ the mutter.

 ‘Take no notice.

Why is this? What happens to us? Where do we go?

Now I call my words my conjuring’s, my magic, my powers. With the power to turn shapes on the page into stories, I find I have come back to myself.

We do come back, from wherever we have been. Finding our voices, practising croakily, we say our names, naming ourselves again in a new light. Is that why we join choirs?

No longer girls we are now the women of tall tales.

No longer girls, we clear our throats and if not roar – not yet at least – we can sing our name with pride.

There is a strength in this coming back to ourselves. Finding ourselves, rediscovered amongst the debris of our lives.

We have scars, have loved and lost and loved again.

Our bodies, no longer the unfinished sheen of the young, are still strong, more powerful, more beautiful, humming with hormones and the energy of life. This time is not about the life of others, this time that energy, that spark that bought forth families – or did not – this energy is for us alone.

Maybe that’s why we hear the others calling. Maybe that’s what we can hear, whispering at the back of our minds. Maybe this is not a calling back to who we were when we were young and loud and full of sound. Maybe this is a calling to who it is we are meant to be now.

I found my voice at 50.

A voice that rings with truth.

A voice that rings with all the lives I have lived, all of the memories and all of the silence.

It is a voice that will be silent no more.  

5 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. How did I get to 52? It happened without me noticing. It’s been on my mind sometime now. This weeks blog, put so beautifully, echos a lot of these thoughts. The beauty, the dreams, the planned adventure, my strong amazing BODY and my voice.
    I hear you loud and clear x

    Please put your blogs in a book so that I can pick it up and read them.. 👏👏👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

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