Since embarking on my journey of restoration back in 2006, I realized that I'd lived a good portion of my life censored. I grew up in a house with 4 other siblings and on the weekends when I visited my father, had two more there. In each household, I found that my voice went pretty much unheard. At my mum's, I was the one that was left out, picked on, received little or no attention, which promoted my desire to escape through writing or creating parallel existences and remain censored. While at my father's, my brother and sister included me in their activities, but my father kept us tightly reigned in with his strong religious beliefs and practices, which in that environment kept me relatively censored.
As I grew up, I found that while I had a pretty good voice inside of me, I rarely used it. I excelled in academics and sports, was sought out as a friend, and was well liked and received in all my social events/activities. However, in spite of all of that, I still remained censored. I was often afraid to say what was on my mind, what I was going through, and pretty much buried myself deep within and became what everyone wanted me to be. I lived like that for many years.
When I joined the military in 1987, I knew it was something I truly wanted to do, but wondered how I'd fare with someone barking orders at me all day. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about being surrounded by a bunch of women; most of whom I couldn't stand. And my paramount thought was, "will this conformity make or break my censorship?" I soon learned that I was able to be uncensored as the need to be strong, dilligent, resourceful, and sometimes mean in order to make it through. Hiding within wasn't going to bode well and I channeled all my inner containment out into a formidable trainee. I spoke up, maintained strong ethic/convictions, and ensured that my I was both seen and heard. I became a leader and was put in charge of my peers. This further promoted my desire to remain uncensored and it worked well. I garnered the respect I worked for and my voice was sought in many ways.
Upon returning home, I maintained a very strong disposition and worked that summer (88) in an in resident college educational program. It was a great environment for me to grow as a leader and use my voice to guide and teach incoming freshmen. I did that for the remainder of that school year and the next summer. Ironically, as much as being uncensored served me well, it failed me miserably in my actual personal life. I got into a relationship with someone who was a couple years younger than me, less secure in themselves, not a college student, and in some ways a little possessive. This caused me to stop being so vocal, strong willed, and I became what he wanted me to be. This relationship almost led to marriage, but his infidelity precluded that from ever happening.
In the years that succeeded that point, I had a had a child, graduated from college, maintained living on my own, and entered the world of extreme censorship. I hid in more ways than one and slowly and systematically broke down. The turning point came when my personal Pandora's box opened; forcing me to deal with some very hard and painful memories that until then, I'd keep carefully tucked away. I sought professional help and released what I thought was everything; not so! I survived for a little while, thinking that I'd opened up enough and would make it though. I was once again put back into my box and censoring became my revolving door best friend for many, many years.
Fast forward to 2006...I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'd been married; divorced; entered a relationship, that while good wasn't really good for either one of us as we'd both jumped from the fires into the flame of our previous relationship without the benefit of healing in between. We had some good times, but ultimately we couldn't stay together. I decided to work on myself. I stopped being sexual and entered celibacy. I began to deal with ALL of my issues and one by one I began to overcome them. I was brutally honest with myself, my past, and worked on forgiving myself and those who'd hurt me over the years. I reconciled feelings that had laid dormant, I challenged myself to be the woman I knew I should be all the time, and relied on my faith to guide me through. During that time, I incurred a major health issue of which I got through with the love/support of close friends and family, and I think it was that experience that truly showed my resiliency and my desire to no longer allow myself to be censored. I realized then more than ever that I had a voice and had to use it. I refused to allow myself to be what others wanted me to be and be who I was supposed to be.
Uncensorship is a good and bad thing for me as I often speak exactly what's on my mind. I don't do it to be hurtful or malicious, I just speak in the situation as I see it. If I've offended, I'm willing to explain and when necessary apologize; as I'm not too big to be corrected. Uncensorship allows me to live with positive energy, to not hurt/compromise myself, and be open to all the wonders/possibilities/opporunties that surround me. Uncensorship allows me to live out loud and outside of the box. Coloring outside of the lines can be just as pretty and equally creative. And that's how I see myself; a beautiful, perfectly imperfect creation of God's goodness. He's given me a voice and I'll use it. He's extended His grace and mercy upon me and I plan to show my appreciation for it by living a good life. I will not allow myself to be pigeon-holed, beat down, put down, or filled with angst/drama/baggage. I am a free and wonderful woman who loves to live and lives to love. I can and will be all that I am intended to me.
Have a blessed one.
Love to live; live to love!