Karma: 173 (+173/-0)
Voice: The Little Mermaid
Artwork: "And She Saved the Prince" from The Little Mermaid as Illustrated by Edmund DuLac; found at http://www.ArtPassions.Net/
Excerpt from "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen
"I know what you want," said the sea witch; "it is very stupid of you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you to sorrow, my pretty princess. You want to get rid of your fish's tail, and to have two supports instead of it, like human beings on earth, so that the young prince may fall in love with you, and that you may have an immortal soul." And then the witch laughed so loud and disgustingly, that the toad and the snakes fell to the ground, and lay there wriggling about. "You are but just in time," said the witch; "for after sunrise to-morrow I should not be able to help you till the end of another year. I will prepare a draught for you, with which you must swim to land tomorrow before sunrise, and sit down on the shore and drink it. Your tail will then disappear, and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you."
"Yes, I will," said the little princess in a trembling voice, as she thought of the prince and the immortal soul.
"But think again," said the witch; "for when once your shape has become like a human being, you can no more be a mermaid. You will never return through the water to your sisters, or to your father's palace again; and if you do not win the love of the prince, so that he is willing to forget his father and mother for your sake, and to love you with his whole soul, and allow the priest to join your hands that you may be man and wife, then you will never have an immortal soul. The first morning after he marries another your heart will break, and you will become foam on the crest of the waves."
"I will do it," said the little mermaid, and she became pale as death.
"But I must be paid also," said the witch, "and it is not a trifle that I ask. You have the sweetest voice of any who dwell here in the depths of the sea, and you believe that you will be able to charm the prince with it also, but this voice you must give to me; the best thing you possess will I have for the price of my draught. My own blood must be mixed with it, that it may be as sharp as a two-edged sword."
"But if you take away my voice," said the little mermaid, "what is left for me?"
"Your beautiful form, your graceful walk, and your expressive eyes; surely with these you can enchain a man's heart. Well, have you lost your courage? Put out your little tongue that I may cut it off as my payment; then you shall have the powerful draught."
"It shall be," said the little mermaid.
Dr. Richard Grossman, Ph.D. has a terrific website with several articles about Voicelessness. His essay on Voicelessness: Narcissism contains the following passages:
"Narcissists use everyone around them to keep themselves inflated. Often they find flaws in others and criticize them fiercely, for this further distinguishes them from those who are defective."
"Not surprisingly, narcissists cannot hear others: spouse, lover, or friends, and especially not children."
by Lynn S.
At some point in my life, I started believing I was just a little too loud.
I was fairly entertaining as a child. I could belt out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” without missing a beat, a word, or a note when I was barely 4. This behavior was considered bit too outrageous by my fairly quiet and reserved family. After all, I was a girl and I had never even been to a ballgame.
I grew older, if no less enthusiastic, and when I graduated, I left home to pursue my dream of being a vocalist. Though I studied diligently and had some natural talent, my mezzo soprano voice was far too strong for the elite choir in college where all the voices blended perfectly into one. That was the place to be, that choir. Even though my vocal teacher would repeatedly tell me, “You have pipes, girl,” I ended up assuming that this could not be a good thing after all. I didn’t get into the choir, now did I?
Life went forward and I got married. My first husband thought I was far too animated in public. On our way home from a social outing when I thought I had enjoyed a grand old time, he would invariably say, “Why do you have to be...,” and then get frustrated and never finish the thought. I assumed the word he was struggling for to complete the sentence was: ‘You’.
Then the N wandered into my life. I was a little quieter by this time. I had started to get the idea that I needed to tone it down a bit. However, I was still always full of unyielding energy and ideas. Well, that wouldn’t do. That would never do. So, I was reminded by him that I was far too vocal and presumptuous for my own womanly good. Upon hearing my latest brainstorm, he was always quick to bring me to the light with a calculated, “Hmmm...Let me help you out with that idea.” How dare I think that I had something to say all by myself?
The message was clear. I was just too loud. I was too much. I was too excitable.
I was just ...too.
Over time, my voice had grown dimmer. I had changed my song so that I would blend. It was small things at first. I became proper when I was at family gatherings. That was so much more pleasant for everyone. I didn’t stop singing, but I did switch my college major from music to English, thinking it was a little quieter way of singing. After a couple of years of heavy sighs by the ex over “how I was”, I learned to smile sweetly instead of making people laugh when I went out. By the time the Narcissist was done with his mission to silence me so that he could be heard, I was gulping so hard to swallow my words when he was around, I couldn’t think straight let alone talk. I grew silent, afraid that it was the way I spoke which created all the problems. It never occurred to me to wonder if the real problem was that I was spending far too much energy trying to be heard by people who were deaf to my words.
In recovering from the Narcissist-experience, I found my way to an internet support forum. I witnessed hundreds of women and men venturing forth tentatively to talk about their pain. They, too, were often speaking in whispers. But even in those whispers, there was a power that could not be denied. It was the power of their own truth. They had felt voiceless for too long, negated by someone who simply could not hear them. Yet, there they were speaking and being heard, maybe for the first time, by people who understood their words.
A gentle truth started whispering to me.
“It is not that we cannot speak.
It is that we have found the wrong ear.”
Apparently, I had found a lot of wrong ears. But there in that place, people weren’t finding me to be too much of anything. They actually wanted to hear more. This was new and wonderful and safe.
Now I see the truth in all of it. We feel safe enough to speak when we know we will be heard. When we speak, we begin to heal. And so I did. I found my voice, in my own words.
Our voice is never too loud. It is not inadequate. It does not need to blend. It is ours and ours alone, in all its beauty and power. The narcissist could not hear you through his deaf ears nor could he see you through as you really are through his distorted lens. It wasn't your inadequacy that caused you to feel it necessary to silence yourself. It was his.
The Little Mermaid also sacrified her voice to earn the love of a Prince. In the end, she recaptured a new voice through her own display of humanity. So it is with us. Whatever your gift, whatever your voice, it is appropriate to this world and there is no need to silence yourself ever again for the sake of another who seeks to dim your light.
It is my hope that in this place you will feel free to speak again, to sing again, to be exactly who you are without fear that you are too loud, too outrageous, or too inconvenient. You are not and you never were. You are precious.
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost