I can see it now. How I’ve gave away pieces of my voice these last couple of years. Subtle, over time, a little here, and a little there. You know how we don’t realize what we had until it’s gone or until it returns? Yes, it feels like that. Earlier this year, when I could feel my confidence coming back, I recognized my voice again – a lovely, most welcomed thankyoujesus gift. Oh, there you are: there’s your spark, your funny, your wise, calm self. How nice to see you again. I. Have. Missed. You.
I don’t believe we lose our voices, but rather we give them away.
And I can see now – the very exact, specific moment when I began to give mine away.
It was a birth that confused my spirit – a hard reconciliation of being the day my beautiful son was born, but also a day that prompted a post traumatic response which then prompted the unraveling of my voice. Strange – beautifully strange – how our greatest teachers are often single, heart aching, slow-motion moments where we begin the dance of either losing (giving away) ourselves or finding ourselves. I could write an entire book about that pivotal moment.
We all have those pivotal moments, don’t we? They are the moments that break us open. They are our greatest teachers.
After the birth, I fell in love with my son, fell into new motherhood. Add in the intense demands of a business growing exponentially around me, and I I made the mistake (one of my best mistakes for all it has turned out to teach me) of simply not giving myself the time I needed to recover my voice and confidence that was shaken.
Instead, I just kept going, like a machine.
Managing deadlines. Growing my biz. Being a mom and spending as much possible time with my baby. When I wasn’t working, I was with my family. When I wasn’t with my family, I was working. I left no space for much else. For awhile there, I was just getting by in my work, in my marriage, in my friendships. During those months, the only thing that got my absolute full attention was my son. And just like that, little by little, my already shaken voice and sense of self began to slip further and further. Without knowing it, I was choosing, in small ways and in big ones, to carelessly give it away. That choice meant sacrificing my relationship not just to myself, but to others – there’s a real price I was beginning to pay.
I have learned a really hard, necessary, beautiful, universal lesson that most of us already know but often neglect to fiercely hold onto:
We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to stand in our power. We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to protect our boundaries and carry someone else’s shame/anger/etc that doesn’t belong to us. We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose to sacrifice self-care over other-care. We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to shine. We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we become other-esteemed and not self-esteemed. We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we don’t challenge the shame/gremlin/self-defeating stories we tell ourselves, all day long.
And perhaps most importantly, we give away our voices in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to bravely show up inside our beautifully messy, often complicated lives. We must honor, and tell our stories, all along the way. It’s how we speak our truth and know our voice.
I’ve been reclaiming my voice for awhile now. To the girl who says no more often, who speaks up when she has a question, who takes a couple hours out of everyday to do anything that nurtures her soul, who firmly stands up for herself and her work, who is astonishingly sensing, who makes choices that are best for her family and disregards the judgments of others, who claims her courage as honesty, who owns her significance, who celebrates her quirks + her superpowers, who loves flowers and being outside, who loves music and art and silence, who has something to say.
Our voices are precious. Beautiful. Important. And they change the world.
May you be careful with yours. Be fierce around protecting it, nurturing it, and celebrating it, always.