Korinna McRobert

Sensory Overload

As I scroll through Facebook

I am always stunned at how much is out there

Or rather

how much I have access to seeing

I can see where people have been recently

I can get links to the latest news, current affairs, cultural events

All without looking for it 

I wonder whether I would feel less informed without this service

I wonder whether this access to information

is only making me passive

Resigned

As if the world needs more writing

More thoughts

More feelings

Posted and pasted

for all to see

and no-one to read

The person in my voice

I have embarked on a quiet, creative but so far private project. Since September last year I have been taking singing lessons. As a youth I took classical singing lessons and always struggled to control and be in touch with my voice. I still managed to pass my exams but I really could not tell you how. I always felt dissociated from my voice box. I was unable to make my sound. Unlike a bad dream where no sound would come out, when awake I would open my mouth and hope for the best. It was like there was a parallel road going on beside me with a vehicle driving out of control. I knew the two roads needed to be in the same dimension but I somehow could not merge these two strands of reality.

Over this almost nine months of lessons, a full human gestational period, I have managed to grab onto that parallel street and even find myself in the seemingly wild car. Not always. Not every time. But mostly. I approached these lessons, as did my teacher, as a form of therapy. We were both sensitive to what I was feeling, what I was thinking when I said certain words, which would cause me to lose my pitch. Was I thinking too much? Why could I not just be in my body?

I knew this block with my voice was a mental, emotional block caused by years of sexual and emotional abuse, causing me to practice dissociation in order to not listen to the horror story going on inside me. Denying it all just to get through my childhood before finally fleeing. The shame and the fear of telling. It has left me silenced. It has left me split. Now that the war is over I want to feel everything again. I want to trust my body again. I want to get to know it, for what it is, which is a lot more than someone who was once hurt. I need to look at my many dimensions. My faith in mankind (which I still can’t fully justify but I feel very strongly). My playfulness (which is something I remember in small spurts from my childhood but is a lot acuter now). My humour (which I really never knew I had until recently). All of the aspects that were just not developed, because I suppose they had no space or need to. 

Maybe describing the visceral feeling is important: I would try to hit a note and just not find it. I could not really hear it properly. I did not know how to connect the dots. My end was not switched on. A knot in the wire. Deciding to go further meant walking through a very dark room, switching on the light with pure faith. First it was my ears. They started to work. The voice followed. It became able to mimic and broaden. It had new depths each time we worked on a song. Last time we started learning Hallelujah and my classical training, in conjunction with my new ears worked together to produce a sound that I could not believe was coming out of me, so clearly. We record and playback. It still feels like another person. It is still new. It is really exciting. It is such a relief. I feel like I can take the corset-like bind off my throat. I feel like I am allowed. Just. It’s safe. The world has not fallen apart since I told my story. My world has not fallen apart since I got in touch with the mum child inside of me. She is saying a few words now. She is less scared now. We can finally go out now.

Problems

Problems

The dirtiest word

The last thing 

the successful individual 

wants to utter

to other successful individuals

 

I used to believe people

who said that they had a happy childhood

I used to believe people

who said they have no grievances with their parents

I used to believe people

whose biggest complaint was how the bus was late today

I used to think there were two kinds of people:

People with trauma

People without trauma

Trauma means handicap

Non-trauma means one has more to give

Imagine my surprise when I realised

that each person’s trauma is self-defined

and in fact those people who disclose it

may even be a step ahead of those who have

not even recognised it yet

I came out of my closet of shame

years ago

as a self-professed traumatised person

a person committed to sorting herself out

Reactions have been mixed

From admiration to pity

It brought out so much in people

I saw so much of other people’s shit

Some people felt so much better off than me

Others felt safe to tell me their stories

I assumed that people without stories

had none

But I was wrong

Keeping their stories from me kept them high

Keeping their stories from me kept them problemless 

Maybe their denial of pain is a confirmation of it

Maybe their denial of pain is confirmation of a pain

so deep

they can’t even 

acknowledge it without falling apart