Finding My Voice

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

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I had been sucking on hard candy waiting to sing, candy my parents had given me because my throat was a little sore . No one told me that it would coat my throat and affect my voice. I was also physically and emotionally drained. It had been a long rehearsal and I was virtually anorexic at that time in my life.

This strange sound coming out of my mouth and loss of control frightened me, but my mother’s sweet and reassuring smile helped me to continue and finish the song. I made it through the performance though I never regained my composure or the power in my voice. Nothing awful. I just didn’t sound extraordinary…I sounded…well, like a nervous average kid.

No mountains of praise this time, but one person, a considerate nun, did come over to tell us I sounded “sweet”.

My father graciously thanked her and mentioned I normally did better. I felt bad I didn’t do better, but I was proud I hadn’t quit.

When we got out to the car, my father turned to me and said, “All right. If you’re going to be like that, you’ll never sing again.” My mother, never able to challenge my father’s authority, just looked ahead. I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face or the anger in his eye. I had humiliated him and he was dead serious.
As we drove home that night, I stared out the back seat window, stunned by the injustice, silently raging at my own powerlessness and terrified at my father’s perceived power to make good on his threat.

I resolved to be perfect.

And in that moment I lost what was left of my voice.

For years afterward, I sang like a tape recorder – technically correct and well rehearsed, but unable, terrified to improvise, ashamed of my paralysis when called upon to be original.

It wasn’t until a traumatic remembrance in my 31st year of life…more like a terrible, terrible truth-naming of all the abuse in our family, when the family lies were exposed and rationalizations challenged, that the stones burying my voice were shaken. Two years later they crumbled to dust.

With eyes closed and sitting on a kitchen floor, I sang and wrote, “Future Song” a result of the healing path I walked the preceding year, a path of daring to dream again, of discovery and spirituality.

I found my voice.

And now I can’t shut up.

I refuse.

I know what it’s like to be rendered silent. And I know what it’s like to sing someone else’s notes, someone else’s tune.

You can sing so pretty. You can sound just like you’re supposed to, but until you can speak the truth you will never sing with your own voice or know your own song. There are so many pressures to keep your voice silent or obedient to the will and approval of others. Not just pressure or censorship from governments, but among peers and coworkers, family and friends, and just society in general.

I am committed to speaking my truth and helping others to speak their own truths, and in so doing, rediscover their power, their own life songs and vision. But truth doesn’t stand alone on some narcissistic little island of entitlement. It is surrounded and enfolded by its brothers and sisters of respect, open mindedness, compassion and integrity. Finding ones voice and speaking ones truth is a journey of discovering and developing all these traits, and perhaps the hardest, learning to receive through grace, which is essence of all healing.

I am steadfast in believing that creativity is the language of spirit, that when we create in resonance with the truest part of our being, we are closer to God and more able to receive the healing grace of God than ever…no matter how we perceive God or even whether we do or not.

Whatever song your voice may sing, let it be real and let it be yours.


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About the Author

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


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