I lost my voice.
I don’t know when it happened, or even why. But one day was different than all of the others, and I couldn’t speak. Not literally, though I have experienced laryngitis, and it’s almost as disconcerting. This is when you lose the ability to speak your mind, your soul. All that you are, and everything you’re about suddenly vanishes — and you can’t say where it’s gone, or how it disappeared. Worse, you have no idea how to get it back.
Those of you who find themselves musically-inclined will recognise the title as a song of the same name from Pink Floyd’s Division Bell album, which I would’ve worn out, had it been vinyl. It has particular meaning for this post. That particular group, along with Moody Blues, NIN, Sarah, Tori, Smiths, Cure, and more than I can name here, provided the soundtrack for most of the salient experiences of my youth and young adulthood.
I sort of remember the day I suddenly realised I’d lost the ability to feel. I remember when sex became clinical, and then simply unimportant. I couldn’t say why, however. The abuse? My past? The shame of it all? I’m simply more cerebral than sexual? After all, there were more times than I can count which I’d favoured writing — or even bloody daydreaming — over engagement of the physical act of sex. So … complicated. Messy. Took planning, and really, seemed pointless. I’d get to experience pleasure — physically — for a mere fraction of the time I would ride the holistic high from completing a particular scene, or resolving a plot issue, or finding that I’d written some of my better work.
That was when I’d had the startling moment that I really just didn’t like sex.
I’d had a complex enough history with it; very fickle. But, still, it was one of those things that would not land you happily-ever-after, no matter how you sliced it, and a part of me decided to ignore it. Launch a full-scale denial campaign, conveniently avoiding the realisation that I wasn’t like everyone else, (of which I was already painfully aware in other arenas) and figuring that, at least I had control over the world that existed between my ears.
So, the rest of me just took up residence there. For years. It was fine, to an extent. Helped me endure what would’ve possibly done much more lasting damage during a four-year abusive relationship. It also allowed me to fully disengage any sort of emotionality from sex, which was what I had secretly been seeking all along. At first, I suppose I figured it’d make me happy — to feel more in control, not needing, not craving, not wanting sex. The romantic within me became tragically activated; always seeking, dreaming of, longing for some sort of idyllic love affair that really only existed upon my hard drive, or occasionally, within the pages of rare fiction that spoke to me — into which I’d endlessly escape while somehow managing to function. (Have friends, maintain a full-time job, block out the abusive boyfriend, etc.)
I know what you’re thinking: ‘That’s not a life.’
No. It’s not.
People can survive in a stifled environment that disallows them to develop or ever express their full potential. But that’s about all they can do. They can’t actually thrive, since most of their daily existence is dedicated to escaping all that depresses or seeks to prevent them from changing their circumstances — which, in time, they do themselves. Trust me on that one. I hadn’t realised that a constellation of factors had emerged to ruin my sexuality — or rather, my relationship to my sexuality. One day, I simply disowned it. I fear it was so long ago, I can’t even say when. Most importantly, I had no idea how to get it back.
Until … today.