Over the past few months, I have noticed that when I speak, often it is not heard and ignored (unintentional.) There are other times when I am speaking and a family member will tell me, “I can’t hear you.” There are moments of patience and restating what I just said in hopefully louder voice and then there are the moments of frustration (pure annoyance from the, “I can’t hear you” phrase) in which I snap back, “Then why don’t you try reading my lips!” It’s not like I can hear loud or soft voices…step into my world, is what I am thinking.
My world once had voice; in fact, Mom often tells people that when I would sing as a little girl, I had a voice like an angel. We lived near Toledo until I was six, in during that time, I sang Honeytree songs at church and was Mother Goose in our Kindergarten play. When we moved to Colorado, I focused my stage career on the church plays, as it had both music and acting. I loved the memorization of lines and songs. My last performance was during my fourth grade year. I was the lead role of a tom-girl named, Morph. During my opening song, my voice cracked. I had hoped no one had noticed, but as I gazed out into the audience, I caught Megan’s eye and we both knew in facial expression. I had to look away to keep from laughing…concentration!
I entered junior high with a still changing voice. Not in any bully fashion, but I often got asked in the “You sound weird,” tone why my voice sounded funny. “I don’t know,” I had to say…because I didn’t and often I wanted to tell my family that too when they would state that I needed to relax my voice. Ironic, I could hear the pitches of my flute and piccolo, but not my own voice.
Although it would sometimes eat my self-esteem, it never stopped me from singing or talking. Half in love, I sang my boy-band songs so much at home, I was often told to switch the CD to something different. I only got into trouble in school twice: the first was in the 2nd grade. My “best friend,” Stephanie, and I were talking when we were suppose to be solving our math problem. Mrs. Brumfield wrote our names on the board and we missed recess that day. The next time it was Mrs. Baron’s computer class, in which we just typed (read and copied exercises.) Maybe Mrs.Baron didn’t know boring this could be day after day or the fact that Tasha and I were pretty much inseparable at the time…regardless, we were seated next to each other facing the library windows. Yes, between regular chit-chat and mouthing motions to passing friends out the windows, it didn’t take long for Mrs. Baron to move me across the room to face the wall.
When I reached high school, the aspect of my voice and hearing made sense. I no longer took stage to sing, act or play the flute–but there was just one more acting performance that I took part in, and I didn’t even have to audition. And there was no audience…well, maybe the FedEx deliverer counts? Yes, the height of my career…the big grand finale, our own Hollywood in the making–
I’ll give you three seconds to control your outbursts of laughter…3, 2, 1.
And this is just a picture; the movies are none to compare with, except maybe the real Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you hadn’t noticed, that is me with the home-made (and most itchy) hat and neon looking beard. I was cast as the “talk at the wrong moment,” lover of roasted pork and ale, but tough as a nail in battle–the stubborn Dwarf, Gimli. We filmed all our favorite scenes across our property the entire day. By the end, my voice hurt, because not only did I have to try to talk loud over the wind, but also, I had to change it to a deeper tone. Some sacrifices are worth the finished product. 🙂
The adult world didn’t ask about my funny voice, but expressed concern: “Do you have laryngitis?” they would ask as they pointed to their throat. If I ever got bored at work, I could have just started a mental tally of how many times I got asked during my shift. Why does voice matter so anyway?
I know for my doctor, this was a concern. He noticed my softness right away…things have changed since I saw him in February. I too have noticed the changes in my face, but maybe have not realized how significant they may truly be. As we continued our discussing of numbness in the face and hands, it dawns on me, like everything else effected by the pressed nerves: “Can your vocal cords go numb?” My doctor said it could be a possibility.
And so I have a quiet voice. Sometimes that is a blessings, sometimes I desire to be heard; but if I am living a life full of praise, my actions will speak louder than words.
I think that all of us have a responsibility to sing the songs as though this is our last day on earth. And we have a responsibility to live them out. Because when we sing and live together like this, uniting as one voice, it can literally shake nations.
Martin Smith, lead singer of Delirious?