Unguarded Voice

They say the best writing is unguarded.

The writing that speaks—that is worthy—is the writing of truth.

Gut wrenching, honest truth.

About love;






fragile hope;

hopelessly delicate faith that weaves in-and-out of unanswered questions;

and witty, wishy-washy, wavering life.

It’s the post that I schedule, then unscheduled because I’m fearful. I’ll take it off the blog and rework it into something more palatable and puny. I tame it down until it’s neutered and my voice and passion are silenced. It’s been whipped into submission, and I confirm that no one could possibly be upset with me or think I owe an apology.

They will still love me now.

It’s then I realize, “I shouldn’t have messed with that hot ticket!” and go searching with frustration and fervor for the original text or less mutilated version existing within the bites and cache of my computer. Praying that I was smart enough to “save as” segregating the essay with fire that could potentially get me in hot water from that one that will keep everyone dumb and happy and bored (with me).

…and when I find it (the unedited essay) I consider it a sign from above—because I’m always looking for signs in everything— to confirm and validate moving forward with my voice (aka: bad behavior and hot potato topic).

But.  But…it’s also going to make some readers (onlookers) uncomfortable, angry, and question my motives.

And at worst I could get blacklisted from someone, or the tribe, flock, and gaggle.

I don’t want that. I want to be love… But I also don’t want to live with tape over my mouth.

Me. Juxtaposed. Overthinking. My brain feeling like raw hamburger.

I have completed essays sitting, waiting for my courage to catch-up. I’ve considered going under a pseudo-name. I’ve written how hierarchy in my church has unknowingly (I hope unknowingly) thwarted me. And a story about my fears in showing care for a homeless cat who scratches the surface of diving off the deep-end of caring—and I’m not sure I can go there. There is an essay begging to play in the yard about someone’s undiagnosed depression—and the alien audience watching from a distance. And the time well intending folk led to my baptism with the wrong pastor. The unraveling of family and my silent grief. Wondering about my Republican affiliation, because there is a lot of Liberal in my bones, and both parties are messed up beyond repair. Pro-Choice. Gay Rights. Health Care. Breast Cancer. Over-weight-ness. Blog stats, and lack of comment insecurities. The stigma of marrying a black-sheep. International mission trips—but our homes and country need fixing—first. Forgiven history—yet personal boundaries are misunderstood. Middle-school girls who sing about Jesus then two days later give BJs and drink rum. Oh and there is the year I had a rainbow sticker on my car—bumper-stickers are a big eff-ing deal.

(and how I use the written word “eff-ing” because I’m too afraid to get real like Anne Lamott)

I mean I am a good Christian girl…and what if my niece reads this?

What I’m saying is, I know I’ve written (and not posted) the things you’re thinking about. I know one of those statements above made your heart leap with either, “please please talk about this, I need to hear I’m not alone—or crazy” and the other half flashed a moment of red with, “don’t go there—how dare you bring up that matter—you are looking at it wrong—you are mistaken—I’ll stop reading your blog—I’ll never comment again—I will not love you.”


I’ve been unfriended, un-subscribed, shunned.

I’ve also been loved, long emails of thanks and personal private stories, and felt included in a web-made-tribe of unconditional love.

Problem is, that most of that webby-love is spread by miles of land and sea, yet the shunning is in aisle 12 at my local grocery store.

Those of you that said, “please, please talk…” you are my audience and tribe. Thank you. And one day I’ll get over all my insecurities of being a good Christian girl who shouldn’t play the lotto and should never ever say f…fu… (crap—really?—I’m going to be this wimpy?)… And I’ll get past my fears of perceived blacklists and steaming quazi-comrades.

Until then, I’m waiting for more bravery to gather so we can be kindred—because I know with every fiber in my body that there is so much comfort in seeing another person write or speak about the things you’re afraid to admit—it gives you courage. And I know I do no good in this world by sitting wishy-washy on the fence, writing boring trivial slop. So I’ll choose a side and find a good wrap-up—because a great topic and voice is mere venting or idle chatter without takeaway.

Are you—or do you want to be—a communicator, in word, song, or speech? Are you afraid of your voice and what it wants to say? What one thing would you talk about and what holds you back?

© 2009-2012 Sherry Meneley All Rights Reserved soiledwings.com sherrymeneley.com soiled wings createHEART create heart truth soulution soul’ution life coach coaching art journal

18 thoughts on “Unguarded Voice

  1. Maybe it’s time to submit the memoir I wrote a few years ago. I’ve hesitated for just the reasons you stated in this post. Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll let you know what happens with it! Btw, maybe a few more of us need to “get real” life Ann Lamott–who happens to be one of my favorite writers. Why? Because she’s REAL!!!

    • Yup, if I could have the supah courage of Anne – hence why I keep toying with a writer-name to hide myself and say what I really want to say. Anne rocks. (ps: thanks Karen)

  2. The last time I said f… out loud (even while my conscience was roaring at me inside), I found myself the recipient of a new motorcycle. Proving that an audience will forgive you. So, I say go for it. All of it. Every subject you hinted at above should be exposed in your unique way. Just make sure if you do select a pseudonym that you tell me so I can still follow you.

    • LOL – Linda don’t worry, I don’t think I’ll have to use a psedo, almost the the ties have been cut from the areas that judged me too harshly. I just can’t keep wearing these white gloves for the places/people of my past (that have unfriend, etc…. me) 😀

  3. Oh Sherry, I’m in love! (No pun intended). You said, “The writing that speaks—that is worthy—is the writing of truth. Gut wrenching, honest truth.” And I say amen! Why is is that I am labeled for saying what they are thinking. Doesn’t Jesus say that He looks at the heart? Why am I judged for caring and yes, loving, enough to acknowledge that the “elephant” in the room is ready to swallow us whole? Or why is it considered wrong to actually care enough about the “emperor who has no clothes” to want what is best for him/her, only to be labeled judgmental when the gut-wrenching truth is I genuinely cared enough to say this is broken and harmful to you. Yes, unfriended, yes blacklisted and shunned, all because what they call judgment is genuinely love. I don’t have the answer to this question, but what would happen if more people chose to be gut-wrenchingly honest in love? Would it be cruel and messy or would it bring healing and freedom?

  4. Wow.
    What one thing would I talk about?
    How do I say it without logging out and logging back in as an anonymous commenter?
    What’s holding me back from writing about it?
    As much as I would be ok with being known…it’s the unfortunate decision that I then make others known without their consent.
    Wrestling with it all.
    I already feel as though I’ve said enough.
    My first gut reaction when I read this is “I must share this on FB”
    Now I wrestle if I can…simply because I am seen–even here.

  5. Just for the record, Jesus ticked off a lot of people with what he said. Be real and don’t worry about the rest. I’m trying to do this too, but it’s a lot easier said than done. Love you, girl. 🙂

    • Thanks Judy !! Always easier said than done. And yeah, to be like Jesus and hang with the unsavouries and not worry about the blacklisting and shunning of Religious Leaders and Pollyanna’s (OMGOSH did I really just type that) would be shear bravery.

  6. {part 2}

    Oh Sherry…

    The tears in the back of my throat are escaping to my eyes…
    You are reminding me of the Courageous call on my life to be real and vulnerable in order to set captives free…

    Let’s do this.

    Let’s write real. Let’s be vulnerable. For the sake of others who can’t…or won’t. Let’s set them free to fly…to soar…to the heights of freedom.

    My heart is beating wildly as God presently–in this very moment–reminding me of His call on my life. Nothing more than to be vulnerable…real…and authentic with my journey.

    Your words tied with Holy Spirit Himself have re-released a Courageous spirit in me.

    Thank you.

  7. I feel your frustration in claiming your voice… Weekly I stand before an “audience” who wants words of comfort and peace… and to know that they are right. But sometimes the message that is given me is hardly a word of comfort. Sometimes I have taken the safe path… kept the words easy… but it has never felt good. People say “Good job” and give me those meaningless “kudos”… but the one who I really want to hear from seems silent and distant. And I feel cheapened in the process.
    And the one who really needed to hear…doesn’t… and often that’s me!

    Feeling loved an appreciated… is a human desire. we can’t fault you for that. But honestly… are you loved for who you are or what you do? And for those of us who have come to love you because of what you do… it’s because of who you are… real.
    If we didn’t like that… why should you be the one to change? And hasn’t God given you this “sight” to challenge those who “think they see?”

    (And perhaps you’re wrong, you say? what then? If you have diligently followed the Masters voice, how can it be wrong? Misunderstood, yes. Unappreciated, definitely. But then so was the Master.)

    And for what it’s worth… he’s never gonna say “I don’t love you because you said… (even if it was eff’en wrong!)”

    Grace and Peace,


    • wow –> “People say “Good job” and give me those meaningless “kudos”… but the one who I really want to hear from seems silent and distant. And I feel cheapened in the process.” AND “And hasn’t God given you this “sight” to challenge those who “think they see?” ”

      Jer your words are soooo eff’en good for me. Thank you.

  8. WOW – I’m speechless (and not a writer by any stretch of the imagiantion) so here are my jumbled up thoughts and feeling: I have never known more real people than you and Laura – and while it may hurt at times, I have learned so much (especially from you Sherry) on what it means to be real and honest- it’s the only way change will happen. And it’s what I have been working on with myself the past several weeks. I’ve always been so afraid of rejection and isolation that it’s real scary for me. And the last thing I ever want to do is hurt the feelings of someone I love. I’m a coward.

    I look forward to your future, unguarded, gut wrenching, honest posts. And please know I will always love you and support you.

    • Truth and vulnerability is hard. Remaining authentic is even harder. But at least I’m finding a tribe in which I can be my honest self (which isn’t always pretty – but it is always vulnerable and real). But of course with that said, I’ll always say “I’m not the close friend for everyone, nor the easiest close-friend to have — BUT, should anyone choose me, then they will not find one with more truth, honesty, and loyalty than what you’ll find in me.” Sharon, thanks for sticking it out with me.

  9. I have “no words”. So much TRUTH in this slapping me in the face. I finally “posted” a blog that my husband, wrote about a month ago, that pointed to my past “drinking” problem….and I made him rewrite it, not once…but twice, because it was putting my problem out there…and what would people think? Even though it was my past…what made me make him rewrite…so that it would lesson the blow on my ego? WHAT EGO? ugh. His original essay was the one that should have been posted, not the one that was. I shut him up. Seriously. And then yesterday, I gave my personal opinion to a good friend about sex and sexuality….something I knew no one would ever suggest to her, BUT I did. And then I felt a tinge of…”oh maybe I should not have gone that far?” But I did. Finally, I am reminded of the book I put together from the women at the rehab hospital, that shares their stories…every word hand penned from them. I covered up no words, even when they said…”I will not be known as a mother effin junkie for the rest of my life.” Cause how could I leave out those words….those are HER words…authentic words. I didn’t leave them out for her, why do I leave them out from me.
    Thanks for this Sherry… you have me thinking deeper and with more clarity.

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