If I had a hat cupboard, I doubt it would close, so overstuffed it would be.
I'm pretty sure this isn't a unique phenomenon, this doing of so many things for so many people. Like you, probably, I wear many hats. Some of mine are: neighbour, mother, sister, daughter, community member, wife, colleague, volunteer, friend, citizen who cares about my community and others around the world. But there's a price I've paid, a cost of choosing to most often audition for the supporting roles in life. I've rarely taken a crack at a leading role, rarely trusted myself to share my presence in that way. Rarely allowed myself to be seen and heard in that way.
In many ways I enjoyed and found safety in supporting others – it was a perfect cover for not putting myself forward in the world. It gave me pleasure to be in service to others. But secretly I short-changed myself. I wanted to be out there in front, because I knew I had things to share — we all do. My voice yearned to be heard, needed to be released unfettered, just as yours and everyone else's does.
We talk a lot about 'finding your voice' as if it is something that can actually be lost. But we all have a unique expression that eagerly waits to be set free, like a tender, trembling seedling yearning for some gentle rain and nourishment to help it reach toward the sun.
Our voices aren't lost, they're buried deep within, waiting in an overlooked corner like a child separated from its parents.
In her 1934 book A Life of One's Own, Marion Milner wrote, "People said: ‘Oh, be yourself at all costs’. But I had found that it was not so easy to know just what one’s self was. It was far easier to want what other people seemed to want and then imagine that the choice was one’s own."