Finding My Voice
By Heather Frese & Casey
Originally published in Youth Allied By
CFIDS, Fall 1997
Recently, through a bizarre turn of events a laptop computer
sailed into, well, my lap. If you have one of these babies I donít need to tell
you how they can slowly creep into your life, completely overtaking your
existence. Transferring files, adjusting to a new keyboard, working through
mouse withdrawal as you move to the teeny nubbin instead of the familiar rodent;
all are part of the Joys of Lapping.
It makes life easier to have work,
friends available in one compact bit of wizardry. But I was afraid my entire
existence would occur only when my eyes were cemented to that little fluttery
screen. Thatís when I started making lists.
I made the lists on real paper, using
real pen and no sideways smiley faces. It began as a to-do list, which quickly
covered an entire page, causing me to run into a corner and howl. Thatís when I
realized my list had to be expanded to include things like, "Laugh every day"
and "Give a good loud scream when you feel like it." To that end, I purchased
karaoke tapes, to which I intend to sing loudly, in the key of me, whenever
things get too crazy.
The thing about lists is, they spawn
lists. I have a list of 30 things to do before Iím 30. I have a list of
all the strange expressions my brother uses and why ó "Yeah, I want
cheesy poofs," has little meaning unless you have a list to consult. My list
infatuation continues in the CYA/Voice Dictionary, to which I will gracefully
steer you now...
The Duh List, noun. (From me.) The Duh List originated when a
fellow YPWC friend was visiting this summer. We surmised that there are certain
stupid things that happen that make us feel ill, which we donít even realize
because they are so stupid. Elements of the Duh List include: Do I need food?
Water? Should I be asleep now? If you run through the Duh List sooner or later
you hit something that makes you go, "Duh! Thatís why I feel so crummy!"
Example: I was tapered off a medication
told that if headaches and dizziness occurred I should probably go back on. A
month later, while having constant and seemingly inexplicable headaches and
dizziness, the Duh Factor kicked in and I realized that medication reaction was
on my Duh List. (Note: In case I havenít said "Duh" enough in this column, thus
filling up my Duh Quota, it should be duly noted that the words "Doi" and "Doh"
can be used as Duh replacements in a pinch.)
Dining aíla Floor, phrase. (From Jim and Holly Moore) One "Dines aíla
Floor" when one is simply too tired and dizzy to sit upright at the table, but
still wishes to enjoy a meal in the company of others. One simply takes oneís
plate, fills it up and slithers ever so elegantly to the floor to consume the
Example: While stepping over two or
flatbacking feeders, one might remark, "Oh, I see you have decided to Dine aíla
Floor this evening. How lovely, carry on..."
Thing, noun. (From me, Heather, again) "Thing" is the universal word I use
when I suddenly cannot find the word for the, well, thing I am wanting.
Example: At the lake I cry, "Oh, look!
at the, the...THING!!!" "The groundhog?" "Yes! Groundhog! Exactly what I
And now folks, the part youíve been
for, the piece de resistance, the Voice Lettitorial, coming to you from
Casey Parker, and capturing the very essence of what this
column is all about.
My head hurts...
My joints ache...
My brain is too tired to think.
Yet the biggest pain I feel is a lack
belief in myself... a lack of confidence in my abilities and a loss of
self-esteem... and I cannot believe Iíve allowed it to go this far. Whatever
happened to my knowledge that I was above average? Whatever happened to my
thoughts that I could be philosophical as well as feminine? And whatever
happened to looking in the mirror and knowing I was pretty?
Well, Iíve pondered this issue ever
realized that I could not find one good thing about myself. Besides discovering
that I am fully capable of analyzing an issue to death, Iíve realized that too
many compromises for other people have made me less of a person, less of a
Doctors have told me Iím crazy... teachers
have told me Iím lazy... relatives have told me Iím faking it... and Iíve even
told myself that maybe I was wrong... The hilarious thing is that I actually
began to agree with them.
It took me a long
time to find my own
voice, and now Iím determined never to let it escape into silence again.
I can hear my values, my morals and even my worth... and those are things I need
to feel above any amount of pain. Those are the things that make me more than a
YPWC, they make me a person with goals and dreams and laughter and joy and
sorrow and grief. My voice makes me strong in the face of opposition, and it
reminds me of everything I am and ever want to be.