finding your voice
Maybe I should call this piece finding my voice, it’s been hard to find, let me tell you. Or maybe it was always there but I just have to keep getting out of its way. I spent years feeling bad about myself for what my voice, or lack thereof. Sometimes I didn’t know what I thought about something and I felt insecure because I didn’t have an opinion. Sometimes I found it hard to know what to say when meeting new people because I wasn’t sure how to keep the conversation from becoming awkward. I shudder at the thought of having “talks” with now ex boyfriends about how I felt, and remember avoiding eye contact and waiting for them to hurry up and bloody work it out – lest I say something wrong or was held to something I said in a moment of anger.
We judge ourselves (and each other) for the way we speak, the way we come across and the way we express ourselves. Every time I start writing this weekly email I get nervous and some not-so-friendly voices in my head start saying: what do I know? Who am I to say anything, about anything? Who would listen to me? Why would anyone read this rubbish? There is a lot of bullshit that goes on in our heads about trying to say the right thing all the time. But maybe the right thing for me is different than the right thing for you and that’s ok. We’re also not meant to say the right thing all the time because for better or worse we aren’t robots.
We seem to confuse our voice and expression with our presentation. True expression is about us; presentation is about everyone else. With social media being what it is, presentation is given the highest altar. If you can talk the talk, you’re 90% there. If you can take an amazing photo and caption it in a cleverly succinct way, you’re a hero. With social media, the need to say the right thing all the time is intense. Presentation is not expression because it’s not free. It’s also not about us but about the audience. When everything is surface-y and based on our presentation it’s easy to look at other people and feel insecure or not as good as them. But our true expression is really not meant to be like anyone else.
Our true voices come from within and are first and foremost for ourselves. They need to be nurtured and appreciated by us. This means taking off the pressure to say the right thing all the time. If you can giggle when you put your foot in it, all the better. It also means having compassion for those times when you don’t know what to say because maybe you don’t actually want to say anything. As they say, silence is golden. It also means allowing yourself to change your mind. Why can’t you think one thing one day and something else the next? Being fixed to one idea or one belief doesn’t allow for growth or development in understanding. Tell the world you love green today and blue tomorrow, if anyone cares it’s really their problem. Know that you are so much more than the words you speak. Sometimes these words will express a part of you and sometimes they don’t and both are ok. Find ways you like to express yourself. What’s right for you might not be for other people. Maybe you like swearing when you talk and someone else doesn’t. Maybe you like writing when someone else likes speaking. None of these things are wrong or better than any other, all it comes down to is what works for you. With your true voice, there is no right or wrong or judgements to be made; it’s just you.
True expression is very vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a natural chatterbox or more on the quiet end, either way it’s scary to truly express yourself. It means sharing a part of you. It’s really touching to experience other people truly express themselves. You can feel it in your heart. It creates a connection with that person and in that instant you can feel their frailty, humanity and beauty. The same is when you express yourself vulnerably. There is so much joy and healing that can come from it. If you are unsure about your voice, the best advice I can think of is to get out of your head and feel into the core of your being. Feel into your belly and speak, write, sing or create from there. That deep, soft, powerful and all knowing energy centre – the deepest part of you – is the only place you ever need to go to find your voice.
Enjoy this from Like a prayer yoga‘s namesake