Finding My Voice

Written by on October 7, 2005 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 0 Comments

At five or six, I remember dancing alone in our living room to the music of Swan Lake. Against my parents’ wishes I would sneak across a major highway behind our house and stand inside an adobe bus stop for long periods of time, just for the pure joy of hearing my voice bounce off the walls.

Music was a part of my being and essential to my survival. It was like the air I breathed. The cells of my very existence could not exist without it. I sang and danced whenever I could, but those things eventually faded into the past.

Our home was like a dark vacuum that swallowed up any evidence of life. It was dull, quiet and almost tomb-like. I don’t remember any sunlit rooms radiating the sights and sounds of living. Even when we watched a comedy show, once my dad bragged he could watch something funny without laughing, we followed in his stead. It was unthinkable to do otherwise.

For a number of terrible reasons the freedom to speak, to express one’s true self was forbidden.

There could be no true self. Incest, psychological and emotional abuse were part of our home life, and as they never could be acknowledged, never mind addressed, neither could the parts of ourselves that suffered.

Silence became the rule. Mom was always sick, so we had to be quiet – no singing, no laughing, not even crying – especially crying. My world was a series of gray.

When my parents discovered through 6th grade chorus that I could perform and shine as a soloist, I was granted a conditional reprieve. My father became my vocal coach. He told me what to sing and how to sing. He gloried in the accomplishments of his precocious daughter and his fine mentorship, and never passed up an opportunity to let me perform the songs or poetry I wrote in honor of him.

I felt special during that time…like I had some value.

One night – I was 12 years old – my voice cracked and gave out in a performance…(continued on page 2)

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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