Today is 16th April, 2020, and World Voice Day. Voice is a construct. It happens in the brain and the body. It's physical and psychological; motivational and emotional. A psychosocial indicator of who we are; or of who people think we are.
Voice is power. To be without voice, to lose your voice, is to lack the fundamental right to be heard. To be uncertain of your voice is to stand on shaky ground. Sometimes our voice resonates freely, with ease, and we've found the centre of the river, a sense of flow. Sometimes our voice jars, sticks in our throat, is caught up in the rapids or shallows of our emotions.
Those with voice aren't always right. They who shout the loudest, whether by volume in decibels or numbers, are often too noisy for others to truly engage with – but they can drown out the few, the quiet, the thoughtful.
Voice needs tending. The intricacy of the muscles that enable us to make sound, is extraordinary. The delicacy of our vocal folds and the variety of expression they are capable of, are extraordinary. The delicacy and variety of our characters, personalities, likes and dislikes, are extraordinary.
Few are actually tone deaf, but the number of people who claim to be so as they shy away from the sound they make is saddening. The number of people who are afraid to speak their mind, because we live in a world of ever-decreasing nuance where to feel certain is to feign security, is saddening. The number of people who are determined to speak their need for certainty, because to claim knowledge is power, is saddening.
On this World Voice Day, 2020, try to take a moment to consider yours. Is it tired and needs rest? Does it need a drink, whether water for your body or nourishment for your soul? Do you know yours? Do you use yours? Or do you cloak it with a lowered pitch, a pressed sound, or any other costume you think will help you navigate your current situation?
Like our feet, our voice is often neglected. Yet, like our feet, our voice carries us throughout life, connects us to the world and those surrounding us. Voice is the most complex of our communicatory tools: verbal and non-verbal; linguistic and emotional. There are known to be at least 24 emotions contained in vocal bursts (the sounds we make without words – sighs and groans, oo's and ah's) alone.
Listen to the sounds of others; enjoy the sounds you make. Enjoy the sounds of others; listen to the sounds you make. They will tell you what you need to know, and let you know what you need to tell.