When Your Roar Sounds Different Than You Thought It Would
by Lindsey Mead
I thought that a roar, by definition, sounded like a wild, feral lion. I was raised by a mother and father who taught me I could be and do anything I wanted. I headed down the road well traveled, into business and a Harvard MBA by the time I was 25. Still, I wasn’t roaring. I felt timid and quiet, if I’m being honest. I got married and had two babies by the time I was 30.
I kept thinking I needed to start to roar. But maybe, I told myself, I could focus on that after the next brass ring was in my hand. It was my obligation, my destiny, right? I was a feminist with a capital F, a child of Cambridge, Massachusetts. My awareness of the investment the world – my parents, my teachers – had made in my education was so keen it sometimes threatened to suffocate me. I would dent the universe. I would roar. I owed it to everyone who had believed in me.
It was my return to writing that allowed me to find my roar. Though I had always written, and studied English in college, with a concentration on 20th century female poets, I took many years away from that world while I grew a family and a career in finance simultaneously. It was only as I entered my 30s that I returned to the page, driven by some urge that was as unnamable as it was undeniable. The only thing I know for sure, even now, is that the inchoate impulse that pushed me back to writing was inextricably linked to becoming a mother.
I wrote, and I started a blog, and the way I observed the world began to shift. I began noticing things more. And I slowly realized that my roar might be a whisper. It sounds like silence in the morning while I meditate, like my breath in my ears as I run before dawn, like a child’s murmured “good night” as he climbs into bed, like the faint tap of the keyboard as I write down what I see.
As I grew more aware of my life through the process of writing about it, a well of gratitude opened up around me. Sometimes my awareness of life’s beauty – and its pain – feels like an ocean yawning at my feet. It can be disorienting to see and feel so much. But what I also realized is that this chronicling of my experience is my way of roaring. It isn’t loud and it doesn’t, maybe, shake the world in the way I expected to. But it’s my way of looking up at the sky and howling my deep love for this world, for this planet, for my own life. And that is a roar of its own kind.
It was only in retrospect that I realized when I first felt the pulse of my roar inside of me. I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first baby. At the end of a prenatal yoga class that I went to only once, the instructor asked us to lie back, close our eyes, and feel our baby’s energy inside of us. I think I rolled my eyes behind my eyelids. I was not, shall we say, feeling it. But in the hushed room, surrounded by the domed bellies of other pregnant women, I heard an unmistakable voice in my head. That voice said “grace.” I did not know then that the baby growing inside of me was a girl, and I had never considered that her name might someday be Grace. Grace turned 13 last month.
It took me a long time to realize that that voice was something deep inside of me, almost inaudible but absolutely insistent. My roar is a murmur, and it speaks of grace and of gratitude.
Lindsey Mead is a mother, writer, and financial services professional who lives outside of Boston. She has been blogging regularly at A Design So Vast for 9 years, and her work has been published and anthologized in a variety of print and on-line sources.