My name is Carlie Kilduff and a friend of mine recently handed me a copy of Stigma, suggesting that I read it. I took it home and delighted in knowing that such a magazine exists. I like to celebrate great things that people are doing in our world and so I immediately reached out to offer support and encouragement for the efforts and creation of this wonderful resource.
I was a high school teacher and when I became a mother for the second time, my life took a new direction as I began a journey of self-healing and self-discovery. Now, I am a writer, speaker, teacher of self-love, and I perform spoken word poetry. I offer many shows in local coffee shops where I share my powerful, passionate messages of love, joy, peace, healing, shifting world, and self-value.
After I perform, many people come up to me grateful for my words and messages. People are glad that I am speaking and using my voice and that in some way I am speaking words that they are not free or able to express. This gives me such joy and I also feel a sense of responsibility. If this is a gift of mine, a passion, and something that I am able to do, then I am keen to be of help in a world where so many voices are unheard; so many beautiful souls are silenced.
I truly resonated with Stigma Magazine right away when I saw on the front page that it is a voice for the voiceless. I was prompted to send one of my poems called “My Voice”, where I talk about the honor of using my voice for myself and others. This was a token of my appreciation. Luke was grateful for my email and he invited me to write this article. Thanks so much Luke!
The poems that I write, share, and perform come from places where I have had to dig deep inside myself. My family stories are laced with addictions, abuse, and mental health challenges. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder though I currently treat myself with extreme self-care, nurture, awareness, and consciousness, rather than the medications I have previously needed. I look at my mental health through a spiritual lens and this gives me new perspectives and ways of engaging with and harnessing my energetic highs and lows.
I have chosen, after much strife, struggle, and emotional turmoil, to embrace my healing journey. Writing and speaking are forms of expression and processing as I learn. We are all learners. We are all united in the common pains of this human condition. We are in it together and together we are rising and expanding, breaking the binds that have held us for too long.
As a visionary, I see a new world coming, one where we all have a voice, where all are treated as precious and valuable. This is work, hard but sacred work, and it happens one person at a time. I encourage you to share your stories, through writing, speaking, or just in casual conversations day to day. Let us create a culture that greets, welcomes, and makes space for feelings and healing. As one person shares their stories, they ignite others, giving some sort of permission, and this is how we make revolution!
I offer the words that came to me, for you. Let them sit deeply. I wish you peace.
I have found the voice
Once locked deep inside
She’d hide in the shade, afraid
“Don’t speak the truth
Shut it down, retreat, defeat”
And so I’d eat to shove it below
Never to show
Although my neck would ache
Squeeze, wheeze, choke, sputter, mutter, constrict, restrict
Such sorrow would bellow in my hallow gut
But no voice would be heard, not a word
One day, I found the key
It was hidden inside of me
Now my voice is free
Released from false enterprises
I have a choice to use my voice
Rejoice in the truth, within me and you
I speak, I share, I stare delusion in the face
I sing, I shout, I move about, pout and moan, wail and tremor
Any way that she wants to be heard
I speak not just for ‘me’ but for ‘we’
I work for those still protecting the truth
Still in hiding, disguising
Weakened, weary from heavy burdens
With compassion and communion
I widen, open, allow, meet, and greet
The sacred, blessed truth
In my voice
This choice, I share with others
You, my sisters and my brothers
My voice once supressed
Now dressed, blessed
My voice is ripe, right now