A lot of us are quite insecure about how we sound when we speak.
Yes, I am talking about our voices, literally. If you suffer some form of voice hijacking when excited, and your "normal" tolerable voice gets high-pitched and probably ear piercing like mine does, we need to talk. If you have been told that your normal voice is intolerable or in text-speak, annoying this conversation is for you. Yeah, it also includes you with the very shaky voice, the whisperer and the sonorous one too. If you were born with one of those special voices I love in particular, a bit hoarse and raspy, a little too high a tenor, an unusually deep baritone that makes people always ask you to repeat yourself, a croaky or cracked voice, or some not deep enough voice, let’s talk.
So many times, we have a lot to say. We have something to offer, to contribute but we are trapped by our voice boxes. The one in our head, (yeah you know what I speak of, I mean the one reading this right now) that inner voice always sounds better right?
I promise you, I’m as guilty as the next guy. I remember having a notebook of poems that fell off my pile of books one night in secondary school. I was quite distressed but couldn’t really even tell anyone to help me look for it (for fear of long explanation), I was just asking "please have you seen my green extra notebook?" That book was more than halfway gone with my writing but never had I ever gotten the courage to go to our Drama and Debate Club patron to show him. Why? Because I’d be told to present it at assembly, and God forbid that should happen 😂. The logic was that I could risk debating on the assembly ground, just not reciting my original poems( Gasps! The hypocrisy! I know). So you can imagine my surprise, when a junior student stood one Wednesday morning and started speaking words I had penned down. I thought it was a fluke, a very scary precise coincidence, till it happened again and again. For some reason, I felt fulfilled and happy that the book fell, at least people got to hear my words and someone who understood the value of writing found my book, who was able to embody and give life to written words by speech, not some random person who will end up doing FLAMES with it or some other similar nonsense. Some years later, this boy is texting me on Facebook, and we got talking about the book and he was wondering why I never presented them myself.
I wish my story had a poetic end like I learnt the power of spoken words and have been very vocal since then but alas, that is untrue because I still struggle. I have done some searching, and I have found that though many people reading this may not be writers or orators, yet we are still a people who either hate our voices, are ashamed of them, are scared of the criticism to come from our audience, or are just not comfortable speaking.
I could excuse myself and say I’m a writer so my voice doesn’t count but I’d be lying.
Our voices matter.
Yes, even in a world where texting is more convenient, I always remember to practice using my voice. I still don’t read my poems out loud yet, but I don’t hate my voice anymore. And even though we can communicate via texts and other characters, never forget to let out that booming or sharp or very low voice out. You are not your voice, but it is a vital part of you. Love it.
Love, Ballie 💖