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A Penny For Them

Posted in Many Paths Many Voices

It ain’t right that I cannot
voice my thoughts,
But I’m afraid, you’ll say,
I shouldn’t think that way.

It ain’t right that I must
swallow all my tears,
But I’m afraid, you’ll say,
I shouldn’t feel that way.

It ain’t right to shake my
head and hide,
But I’m afraid, I’ll say,
those things, best kept,

Tomorrow, I might give
my thoughts away.
But a penny?
It ain’t worth the price today.

Mandy Edwards © 2015

Illustration by Amelia Hamilton

In the 1968 video clip, ‘Journey into Self’, Carl Rogers leads a group of strangers into a conversation about themselves and their deepest truths. One woman said she felt compelled to give all her affection to the cat, because she “could not give that to [her] husband and her children had left home. She mused that her husband “must love her,” but he never opened emotionally. And when she dared to be vulnerable herself, her husband would pat her on the back and say, ‘it will be alright’ but go no further.

This reminded me of my poem, ‘A Penny For Them,’ which I originally wrote as a protest at being constantly asked by my husband to share my thoughts (A penny for them?) and intrude on my inner world. But the poem also brought out in me my fear that if I did dare voice my thoughts then I would be laughed at, or ridiculed, or made to seem ‘wrong’ somehow. And I have been so caught up in that fear that many moments of real connection have been missed.

That same fear has prevented me from speaking my truth as I grow into an understanding of who I am and what my purpose in life is.  It has prevented me from speaking up for myself and shouting out to the world that ‘I matter too’; yet I have ample courage to stand up for the needs and rights of others.

But as Marianne Williamson says, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Recently my husband said to me, “Our relationship can still be strong regardless of our beliefs. Can’t it?” And I said, “Yes, of course!” And now I think we both believe it.

In another poem, ‘A Man Who Cried’, I recall early in our relationship, an incident where my husband did in fact express his vulnerability and opened the way for a raw and real conversation. It helped me see him from a different perspective; a month after a heart-breaking miscarriage. A perspective I couldn’t see at the time as I dealt with my own pain and sadness.

Click on the image below to read ‘A Man Who Cried’