Today is a James Taylor kind of day… I listen to his music and I am transported to the me I was, ten years ago.
I remember singing quietly to the moon, from the porch outside my friends’ flat. On weekends our soirees would always make their way to James Taylor time. Happy and drunk, we’d affectionately sway to the mellifluous tones of the legend himself. And I would sing to the moon and to myself. Sing from a place inside myself and feel whole and deeply content.
I found out after some weeks of singing to the moon that it was in fact, a streetlight. But I digress.
Do you ever feel detached from yourself?
Like you know that somewhere out there is the person you are meant to be, but you are not being her, because life gets in the way? You just trudge through the endless tasks that must be done, not with joy, but with grim acceptance. It just is this way and that is all there is to it. Dreaming about that life is the provincial domain of the young, before the realisation that everything declines. All things eventually fall. It’s hard to access who you really are when you are under the weight of a realisation like that. It can be a bit depressing.
I’ve been doing a writing course, and I am loving it. Finally something that really works my way. I’m here, tucked up in bed, looking out at the day. I can work horizontally. The kids are all at school and the first thing on my agenda is doing my course. And today, the assignment was to make a podcast for our peers. (That’s a voice recording that you can put onto your blog… do you readers want me to literally talk to you?). Doing that got me thinking about my authentic ‘voice’.
I’ve been using it a lot this week, flexing my two dimensional vocal chords in the Chronic Ills of Rach. I like having a voice. And a platform to shout it from; thanks for joining me here! I love that you want to read my stuff, it’s motivational. And it’s been a revelation to me.
It’s so easy to feel isolated and misunderstood when you don’t use your voice.
You know, the voice of that self, the authentic, inside you.
The voice you whisper within yourself when you are too afraid to bring the words out. Afraid they will be made small. Ignored. Misinterpreted. Judged.
The voice that plays phrases on a loop, knowing they deserve to be spun into a real story.
The voice of who you really are.
I am trying to invite that voice out into the open. Give it room to say what it needs to say and be the real me. It’s quite scary. Stop! Go! No! I’ve copped some flak since I started using my inner-me-voice. Some people are horrified. Maybe they have never met the no-holds-barred-rach before, or they have and they find her unseemly. For some people, my kind of writing will never feel right.
But I feel like I felt the first time I ever went topless in public. Don’t be too horrified, I am a risk-averse girl. No one could actually see! It was night and I was facing away from the partygoers, but I was high up on a promontory, looking over the city lights. I was taken by this need to be bare. And I did it. Bare naked breasts to the wind. It was glorious! I felt free that night. Me. Under the darkening blanket of sky. And I feel free now, writing my words out and sending them, naked into the world.
For me; doing normal things is an exercise in persistent determination. I am teeth-grindingly frustrated about things that wouldn’t have been spared a moment’s thought before. I spend my impoverished energies on things you might think small, like wiping the breakfast away from the bench. And I rest until I can do the next thing. I must pace, conserve, plan and push through. Feeling fine is a far distant echo of life before. I don’t remember the last time I said with honesty that I feel fine. It would be a strange and beautiful sensation to be clear headed, to not feel the ache of exhaustion, to stop the sweeping tides of dizziness that slide across my world.
But my soul. That feels fine. Sublimely fine. I am here in my room, high on a cyber promontory.
Bare naked soul to the wind. Because she’s back, that inner Rach; she’s around me now.
Every now and then the things I lean on
lose their meaning
and I find myself careening,
to places where I should not let me go.
She has the power to go
where no one else can find me
and to silently remind me
of the happiness and the good times that I know,
and then I just got to go, then.
It isn’t what she’s got to say
but how she thinks and where she’s been.
To me, the words are nice,
the way they sound.
I like to hear them best that way,
it doesn’t much matter what they mean.
she says them mostly just to calm me down
And I feel fine anytime she’s around me now,
she’s around me now almost all the time.
And if I’m well
you can tell that she’s been with me now.
She’s been with me now
quite a long, long time
and I feel fine.
James Taylor: Something in the way she moves.
(But it is better to listen, because he has the sweetest sounds).