When I was a toddler, I liked to sing. I knew so many songs by heart, and even as I got older, I used singing as an outlet to express my creative voice, even if I was singing the words to someone else’s song.
I would delve deeply in to the emotion that was expressed by whatever artist had my attention at that time. Often I would listen closely to each word pulse through my being, absorbing and internalizing the lyrics as if they were my own. Those artists wrote these songs for my soul, and I found my voice through theirs.
Those younger years were more often than not, times when I was afraid to speak up, never fully feeling safe with my family, my friends, my significant others, to say what I truly needed to say. I hid behind what I thought I should say, rather than what I knew to be true. I always feared getting in trouble, being misunderstood, being alone, losing friends, or engaging in fights with my boyfriend. I was grounded in fear, and when fear rules your voice, you hide it.
Some might argue that maybe I spoke too loudly, but I’d refute and say that when we are too loud or too soft, we aren’t committed to our true voice. It’s still a form of hiding, and so in those formative years, I had singing and music, because hearing those artists speak my soul, I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew, even at a younger age, I internalized events and circumstances more deeply than I cared to fully admit, and I know that had I spoken my truth of how I observed the world, I ran the risk of becoming an outcast.
In those moments when I was faced with this loneliness and uncertainty, I knew at the very least, I had the artists whose voices could speak for me. And so I decided to always have music on when I was with others, because that way, even if they didn’t understand what I was saying, or didn’t want to hear me, my inner voice wouldn’t be completely stifled if my songs came on.
As I grew older, I slowly allowed my voice to be heard without the need to speak through song. I tested the waters with new friends, significant others, and some family members. I wasn’t always successful, though, and retreated back to the music that was ingrained in my cells, for it was my safety net. When I felt ready again, I would try new ways to communicate and have my voice heard, and some would understand, and some wouldn’t.
At times, I grew frustrated, thinking I would never find anyone with whom I could truly speak and be heard, and I knew my voice – that inner voice that was screaming from that deeper place within me – needed to be set free.
It took a long time for me to fully trust that my voice could be and needed to be heard, and even though I had, for a decade, engaged in a career where speaking was of the utmost importance, it wasn’t until the last three years where I finally wasn’t afraid to speak my truth. This showed up in all areas of my life, and as it turns out, the fears of my childhood subsided, and I began to speak clearly for the first time, ever.
Letting my voice be heard and not being afraid to speak up comes with a different set of challenges, than when I hid behind other’s voices. I’ve had to learn to not let others’ voices interrupt my own, and instead stay true to what was right for me. I’ve had to stand up to voices that seemed stronger than mine, and remain in my power so that my voice was clear and not shushed by someone who thought they could interject their voice into mine. I’ve had to make sure that I was not giving power to those who tried to control the volume of my voice in those years when I learned to speak. And I’ve had to comprehend fully what my unique voice sounds like, because without that understanding, my voice is nothing more than noise.
Being aligned with the voice has guided me to a place of inner strength, and even when others can’t hear me, or don’t want to hear me, I’m still certain of what my voice sounds like, and I’m not afraid to let it be heard.