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Finding Our Voice

Often, as we go through life, we find ourselves with this vague feeling of dissatisfaction that we can’t quite put our finger on. We don’t know why we feel this way, only that there’s something missing from our lives. We may be happy in our relationship, satisfied with our careers and yet not be completely whole. Not really. This feeling almost always begins at adolescence and continues strongly through the teenage years. It comes and goes as we get older but sometimes it never goes completely away and we live our entire lives with that vague sense of incompletion.

There is a reason for the feeling. All of us have what I like to call a Voice – capitalized intentionally. It isn’t the one we speak with; it’s the one that we truly express ourselves with. That Voice can be expressed in many different ways.

Da Queen will tell you I’m not the biggest fan of “American Idol” on earth – I find the music too  commercial for my tastes and it seems to me to be more of a popularity contest than having to do with musical worth. “American Idol” seems geared towards generating product rather than creating art, and on the whole I find that distasteful. Obviously, I’m in the minority; it remains the most popular program on American television.

Still, I can find something to admire about it. While I may not necessarily care for the music, the show itself does give ordinary people the opportunity to find their Voice. Week after week during the tryout shows we hear from people about how this is something they’ve always wanted to do, that it’s their dream to sing. The Voice can often find its means of expression through song.

Not everyone on “American Idol” is there to find their Voice. A good many of them are there to become rich and famous and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The difference between becoming a professional singer and finding your Voice is very specific; while a professional singer does what they do to make a living, the person who has found their Voice sings because they have to and they would do it even if they’re not getting paid.

Talent isn’t the only qualifier for one’s Voice. You don’t have to be Monet to find your Voice through painting. You will know if you’ve found your Voice if it is something that brings you satisfaction in the act of creation, and that you do it not necessarily as recreation but almost as obsession.

As you may have guessed, my own Voice is through the medium of the written word. I’ve often said that I don’t write because I enjoy it (although I do), I write because I have to. My wife knew I was a little bit crazy because I would write movie reviews that I would store on the hard drive of my computer that nobody could read; still, I had to write them almost compulsively. I am always scribbling something down on scraps of loose-leaf notebook paper, and often as I lay in bed at night I am writing something in my head. Some nights I can’t sleep because the images are so vivid, so I get on the laptop and begin typing while my wife and dogs sleep beside me, my dogs often looking reproachfully in my general direction. Sleep is overrated anyway.

Finding one’s Voice is often called listening to one’s Muse; it has to do with inspiration. Your Voice is what inspires you, what moves you and something you feel motivated to share with others. Your Voice is what brings you contentment and challenges you to improve. It is how your soul is revealed and how your inner feelings, your private thoughts and your general observations are shared.

Your Voice may not necessarily be an artistic endeavor. Your Voice may be in architectural design; it may be in medical research, or it even may be in raising children. Your Voice may be in something as mundane as cooking, or as esoteric as collecting soda bottle caps. Your Voice may be expressed in watercolors, photography, political discourse or sex.

That’s right, your Voice may be expressed through sex – it may be where you feel the most complete, where things make the most sense. There’s no real telling what aspect of life will become your Voice, only that it is there and it is something we all need to find for ourselves. Nobody can tell you what your Voice is and how to find it; generally searching for it is the wrong way to go about it. For the most part, our Voice reveals itself to us in its own way and in its own time and almost never when we’re looking for it.

Finding our Voice allows us to discover something about ourselves. Often it is the key to self-knowledge as well as being a means of self-expression. If you really want to know a person, figure out what their Voice is and then you will be as close to knowing their soul as we can be. We can live without finding our Voice our entire lives, but it won’t be as complete or as fulfilling a life as it could be with it.

There is a difference between Finding our Voice and achieving our dreams. A dream is not the same thing as our Voice; a dream is an ambition, something we’d like to do whether it is walking on the Great Wall of China or becoming the next American Idol. Our Voice is expressed through travel or through singing.

Everyone has their own Voice and it is part of the human chorus. It is a song that began when the first human felt the urge to express themselves and it will continue until the last human dies, but echoes of the song will reverberate in the cosmos long after we’re gone; the Voice is part of something larger, more infinite; if I make it sound a bit like George Lucas’ force, well there might be a relationship there. The Voice after all is said and done is what makes us human, what makes us special and unique. It binds us together and yet identifies us separately.

The secret to a happy life is not merely one thing, but finding your Voice is always part of the equation. We cannot understand ourselves without knowing what our Voice is and learning how to use it properly. It is the essence of who we are and what we are about; it is the common human thread and the best part of every one of us. It is what draws us together and sets us apart.

So do you know what your Voice is? Have you let others experience it? I’m interested in knowing what your Voice is. Drop me a note or comment on here and let me – and by extension my readers – know what your Voice is. I’d love to share it with you sometime. After all, what good is a Voice if others don’t get the benefit of it?


One Response

  1. Magnificently written post, if only all bloggers provided this level of high quality information the net would be a great deal better place. Please keep it up! Ciao.

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