In 2010, years before I was to grow accustomed to disembodied voices of Beings speaking to me, One told me that I was The Messenger. Heard as a male, he seemed to be a representative of a collective or Their collective voice. There was no formal introduction; no job description or manual was provided, nor was the message to be shared made clear, only the one informing me that I was this undefined messenger-person, a deliverer of some persuasion. Like other moments when I’m caught off-guard, I didn’t have the foresight to ask what the message was or how it was to be delivered. There was also no witty repartee or any idea what They meant then but it was accompanied with the identifier of The Friend as well and I thought, “I can do that. I can be a friend.” Except that’s not what they meant and for over ten years, I’ve struggled to know how to be a Messenger, never mind The Messenger. I’ve asked again and again, “What is the message? What would you have me say?” And each time, I’ve been met with silence from those that others cannot see. And, yet…
In the summer of 2015, while watching in dismay and horror as CNN shared the news of massacre at the Charleston, South Carolina, Emanuel AME Church. Cutting through the noise of the television and my own mind was The Voice, His Voice—the same on that soundly admonished me five years prior that the gift I was claiming was not mine, not of me, actually was—saying one word: “SPEAK!” with the same ferocity He addressed me five years prior. This was not the speaker of the collective. This was The Voice of All, the same that had appeared in my kitchen in 2008 asking me, “How will you define yourself?”
Already sobbing in response to the mass murder in a church of all places, the grief shifted to rage, “What more would you have me SAAAAAY?!? Don’t murder people?! Moses already did that and clearly no one’s bothered to listen!” Literally, what would God have me say? To whom? Why? How dare he demand this of me, too! Wasn’t I already doing enough? Wasn’t I already enough?
So, the first exposure to an identity, a definition that might fit me or, perhaps, even tell me who I was if I wasn’t ‘just Ingrid’, was being identified as The Messenger.
Since then, Ancestors have come down from mountains to say, “Speak, child. Speak” in a soft plea. Clouds gather to say the same. Wakinyan have interrupted other people’s peace to have them admonish me: “We TOLD her!!” as if telling on me would somehow make the words I do not know tumble from my lips, be born from their impatience. To feel my own red Thunder Being stomp around Standing Rock when I met his ire with, “What would you have me say!?” because what I was told by Ancestors to say wasn’t to be heard by Man (or Men) Who Couldn’t or Wouldn’t Hear.
The most recent calls to action have come in the gentle ways of grandmothers participating in my own healing processes and in the ferocity that only Brahman himself can bring. As energies course through me, rearranging themselves to meet new growth, I hear “Speak, child. Speak.” Whispered on the wind, the same message grows more insistent. Birds cling to window screens to remind me to open my beak. But still there are no words. Visions pepper the night and daylight: Speak. Yet my own voice is silent and those echoes of memory that course through my veins have nothing to say.
I’ve tried to create a message of my own. It’s seemed to me that Don’t Fuck Children was a great one. It came naturally after working with so many people who’d suffered for so long. I was and, truth be told, still am, convinced that if corporate America can convince millions of people they need special wet paper to clean their rear ends, then a global campaign addressing the effects of sexual abuse could positively effect just as many people. However, those who insist I speak are clear that I’m not to speak *that*. Perhaps it’s for the same reason a renowned neurologist shared: “Pedophilia has been around since the dawn of man” with the implication that since it’s always been, it shall (should?) always be. Perhaps it’s merely its own echo of shame wrapped around eons of taboo.
I’ve been met with the same silence of the Universe when I have spoken to humans as a Voice for the Voiceless. It’s too much to know where the bodies are buried or who helped them get where they are. The Voice of the Mother rises through and the still response if one of fear, as if her arrival brings humiliation rather than benediction or they merely cannot be heard over the noise of her subjugation.
A search on Amazon leads to over 10,000 titles to help us find our voice. From practical tips for public speaking to maps for your spiritual path you, too, can find your voice. I have one. I speak it often enough but it’s not saying what Someone else, many of them, wants be said.
I have channeled mothers and grandfathers and those we want to be our Masters. I have heard and held the voices of dead cops as they lamented their murders, the family left behind and the state of the world that landed them in a place they weren’t ready for. I’ve had conversations with and spoken for Gods. Brahman himself has talked in my ear about how easy it is to hear Him and that bit of Knowledge was already known because He’s stood in my kitchen and asked me how I would define myself. And nowhere in all of this has been The Messsage, His Message, Their Message, any message.
Spiritual advisors abound in my world. New people spread old axioms as if a standard recipe will move the Voice of God or woman. Stirring a greater cacophony of stillness, “Be Still and Know.” Be Still. And Know. Two inarguable (though we all try) directives to Know What? Speak What? When the mantle has been placed but the manual—and the message—is missing, what then?
What would you have me say?