Thank You for Hearing Voices

My mother is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

As a child, I believed she talked to spirits.

A young Native American boy in our neighborhood told me about his grandfather who could heal people by talking to spirits.

My mother sat at the kitchen table and exchanged voices with people I would never meet, or even see.

I was certain my mother could not heal people, but I accepted the theory about talking to spirits until I learned the “C” word, Crazy, years later.

I have had many conversations with people who have ideas about what crazy really is—most within the limited framework or understanding of those who do not consider themselves crazy.

Some take the Spiritual approach;

Crazy is actually a sensitivity that the rest of us cannot fathom. It gives the afflicted an insight into realms where the rest of us cannot go.

They can know things, see things, hear things that the rest of us can not because we do not possess this extreme sensitivity to other realms.

Others take the Scientific approach;

We have chemicals that dictate our behaviors, moods, and perceptions of reality. The balance of these chemicals ensure socially appropriate agreement on what reality looks, sounds, smells, or feels like.

I contend that both of those are probably true to one degree or another.

But I cannot know, only observe the behaviors attributed to the theories.

I do know we can all hear voices.

The difference between crazy and wise lies somewhere in the manifestation of how we respond to those voices.

I hear the voices of poets, of other artists, of loved ones, of teachers and philosophers. They respond to silent questions that dance around in my head at different times. Though their voices do not come to me in an auditory form, they impress me with as much power as if they were riding thunderous sound waves.

I integrate the voice of others into my own voice when I speak.

Everything I have learned through the voice of others becomes a part of my own.

Developing a voice of one’s own is a plagiaristic journey.

We read, we listen, we absorb, and we respeak in the color of our own voice.

I am thankful I can hear voices and I am thankful for those who speak to my spirit.

They can heal people.

Your Mothers Voice: ART by Lea Kelley



~ by leakelley on August 18, 2012.

6 Responses to “Thank You for Hearing Voices”

  1. Only a first class mind working with other minds of all sorts could clearly say what you just wrote. It should be added, however, as I’m sure you know & will agree, that there is a terrible difference between being crazy & being wise. The wise are content & sometimes happy with themselves, even when serving as voices in the wilderness that tell us of our follies. Psychotics suffer horrible, hellish pain, & often never experience contentment that lasts more than a few hours or days now & then. Moreover, they do not get contentment from medications. Rather, the medications lessen the pain at the expense of varying degrees of loss of self & mind.

  2. Amazing and unsettling post… I think I would describe the artwork similar. Amazing Lea!

  3. I recently read the book “I Gotta Crow: Women, Voice, and Writing.” I could have read your post instead and, perhaps, learned more with less to read. I agree with Bridgeout. Amazing and unsettling post.

  4. My mother was also a diagnosed schizophrenic and spoke and listened to unheard voices. She was also an amazing woman and highly functional. Who knows if the spirits answered her questions under the Chinaberry tree at night? When you grow up with abnormal as normal you grow into a more open, accepting person. I sense that has happened with you.

    This line in your post is very insightful. We must be careful to steal the right voices.

    “Developing a voice of one’s own is a plagiaristic journey.”

  5. Lea
    That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Our world is not what we think and bringing those things that are difficult to understand to the forefront gives us a chance to grow. I have been a channel for the other side at times and frightening doesn’t even come close. The fear of being thought of as “crazy” though is the worst.

  6. Thank you for putting so succintcly into words the stuff I unknowingly only kinda think about… you speak to me often…

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