Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finding My Voice

In so many areas of life, a theme seems to be developing for me... finding my voice.

In terms of writing, I think all aspiring authors have to navigate the process of finding their unique voice.

At work, a small boy looked up at me (during my compelling lesson on Trustworthiness) and said, "You don't sound like her!"  He was referring to the previous guidance counselor whose position I filled mid-year.  Stunned, I asked him, "Well, how did she sound?"  His reply, "Soft and nice."  Hmmmm.  So, for the next few days I tried my very best soft and nice voice.  I heard other testimony that the former counselor was rather high-pitched.  I tried to take it up about half an octave.  I sounded like an idiot!  It just wasn't me.  My voice just won't sound right that way.  I have to find my own special Elementary Counselor voice that is soothing to children, stern when necessary and suitable to my personality.

(This is the same little boy who exclaimed loudly a few days later that my arm fat jiggled when I demonstrated the motions to the Respect song.  Flattery is not his strong suit.)

Last weekend, I visited my childhood home.  That's when I began to realize that this whole voice issue may go a whole lot deeper.  I was reminded how my voice gets lost in the clamor of family dynamics.  Usually, I just give up and go inside my shell of detachment.  I wonder if truly growing up, for me, will involve developing a confident voice among my family of origin.

There are days, as a mom of my own busy family, that I feel as if my voice makes no noise at all.  Being ignored is one of my greatest pet peeves.  It's more than a peeve, really.  The message reverberates into my head, "what you are saying does not matter to anyone."

I just want my voice to matter.  That's the most important thing.


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