The Art of Suffocation

The day after I published my novel, I developed a cold which led to bronchitis and pneumonia. For 3 months, I lay on a combination of couch and bed (whichever facilitated less coughing). Too sick to move, work, think, write.

I lost my voice. If I tried to speak, I would be reduced to the bouts of coughing which ultimately dislocated some ribs.
I was experiencing the physical manifestation of what I had done to myself metaphorically for many years.


I have always struggled with fear. Every type you can imagine. Fear of people, intimacy, flying, dying. Fear this person won’t like me. Fear that person will. Fear of being rejected, isolated, abandoned. The list goes on and on and most of it has no basis in logic.

This was the year I moved past all that fear. I won’t say I defeated it, because it will always be there. But I found a way to say, yes I’m scared and … I’m moving forward anyway.

Fear has touched every part of my life. In terms of writing, however, here is the short list:
– too scared to take a stand for my own ideas and therefore I allowed others to convince me to squash my creativity.
– too scared to share my writing; after all, what would people think of me?
– too scared to succeed because then people would see me, truly see me.  In fact I might reveal too much and they would see deep into my soul, to the part of me I keep private and protected.

A long time ago I decided that only through hiding (suffocation), can I remain safe in this world. And as a result, I convinced myself that remaining quiet is what I truly wanted.

No longer.

Losing my voice, my breath, and on a few dark nights my will to keep fighting for my breath – I remembered what I’ve believed.

Every person’s voice is unique. A beautiful expression of that individual’s soul.
To hide your voice is to suffocate your true expression in the world. And don’t think you have to whisper.

Be loud. Scream. Rage. Rail. Express yourself. Experiment. Play. Use your voice for good. For creativity. For love.  But above all … use it.
And never, ever silence what was meant to be heard.


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