I started singing when I was about 8 years old. I took private lessons until I was about 15. I was involved in drama club and chorus (..and many other activities). I loved performing and connecting with other people through music. I used my voice to share my thoughts with the world, to meet other peoples and to maybe reach someone who didn’t have the words to describe how they were feeling.
I’ve never really been described as shy or quiet. I genuinely enjoy doing presentations/speaking engagements. People have always told me that they love the sound of my voice. I’ve even made a few friends throughout my life because they were intrigued by my voice ..which I guess sounds kind of weird now that I’m typing it, but whatever. I roll with it!
I’m also not the loudest one in the room. I like to think of myself as a happy medium. I feel comfortable opening up and I’m not afraid to use my voice, but I’m also not the one who’s very loud and in your face.
I stopped singing or performing about 6 years ago. Once I started college, I didn’t like how competitive it became. I use my voice in a much different way now, but it’s still so, so valuable to me.
Over the past few months I’ve noticed my voice sounds and feels very hoarse and raspy. It’s become challenging for me to project in normal settings like restaurants. I have to repeat myself a lot for other people to understand me. A few weeks ago, I found out I have cysts on my vocal cords which are causing the issue. I’m so grateful it’s not anything worse and is a treatable situation. However, it’s definitely stopped me in my tracks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about speaking/my voice and what it means to me.
I use my voice to provide space for others every single day.
I use my voice to advocate, to communicate, and to connect with others.
I use it to teach, to explore and to serve.
My voice is my tool for work. Without it, it’d be really hard to do what I love most as a life coach and therapist.
I use my voice to laugh, to express myself and to navigate so much of this world.
It shows up for me in so many ways.
Here’s the thing.. there are lots of people in this world who have so much to share, contribute and give but don’t have the power to do so.
Our voice allows us to do so many things in the world.
A part of my treatment is becoming much more mindful of how/when I use my voice and resting it as much as possible (when I’m not working).
If using your voice is something that you struggle with in some capacity, whether it’s communicating with others, setting boundaries or standing up for what you believe in, here are some take-aways from what I’ve learned from the past few weeks.
- You matter and your voice matters. Don’t question how much you really have to offer the world. It’s a lot and irreplaceable.
- You don’t have to be the loudest one in the room to express your needs. If using your voice doesn’t feel like the best way to express your needs, try writing a letter, sending an email or maybe creating art.
- There’s always room to adjust as you see fit. For me right now, that looks a lot like more journaling, more listening and more reading. It’s been pretty nice as we transition into cooler weather to have some extra quiet moments.
- If you have your voice, and it’s healthy, appreciate it! I have a new depth of gratitude for all that my little vocal cords do day in and day out to support me.
- Listening holds tremendous value. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all to show your love and support for yourself or others.
- MINDFULNESS – this honestly just pops up everywhere!! I am developing a much deeper awareness around the use of my voice and words. It takes effort to slow down and really pay attention.
- Personal growth and self care come in many different forms. For me right now, going to voice therapy, practicing the exercises and being patient with myself IS my self care. I am challenging myself and growing as a person because of it. It doesn’t require any fancy baths or expensive massages.