I love that line from the Tori Amos song:
Sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here, silent all these years.
That’s how I feel about my own voice. It’s been here, but for most of my life it was silent. Or rather, it was screaming at me for attention inside, but I never listened, so I never shared it, and mostly remained ‘silent’ in my life.
How do I know? Because for the longest time I felt a deep aching down in my soul – one I tried to fix with shopping, or food, or men, or booze, or work. None of that worked, though. It only ever took me further away from my voice.
No, I only really started listening to my voice when I began my daily journaling habit. Because when I did that, showing up every day, I couldn’t ignore it or hide from it anymore. I finally heard what it was saying. And what it was saying was that it wanted me to speak: to share myself, to share my story, my life.
Now, though I don’t always journal, I try to write every day. Writing is what frees my voice, it’s the way I speak my truth to the world.
Sometimes I doubt my voice. I think that no one will want to hear it. Maybe they’ll think it’s too whiny, or self-indulgent or just irrelevant. Maybe it will remind them how they are ignoring their own voice and that will be too painful for them, so they won’t want to hear it.
But I hope that they will hear it and feel less alone in the world. That is the greatest gift I’ve found when other people share their stories with me.
We each have a voice, a story to tell. Using our voice and sharing our story is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves. It’s our way of taking up space in the world, our way of of claiming and declaring our own importance. Because if we don’t, no one else will do it for us.
Every single one of us matters and has something to say that is worthwhile. How we say it is up to us: in a memoir, a blog post, through fictional characters in a novel, a poem, a song, a greeting card, a letter, in conversation with friends, in a wedding toast, through the imagery of art like painting, drawing, or photography, or through some other form of self-expression such as dance.
To use your voice and share your story doesn’t have to mean in words – although it can.
It’s about expressing your unique soul, your vision and your perspective. In doing so you share universal truths that help others to heal, to grow, to expand and to ultimately listen to their own truths. This is what using our voice and sharing our story gives back to the world. Natalie Goldberg said:
In knowing who you are and writing from it, you will help the world by giving it understanding.
I used to wonder if I had truly ‘found’ my voice. This is something many writers worry about.
But I know I have – because here I am, using it to express my truth. As long as I keep expressing who I am in ways that fill me with joy and purpose, then I am using my voice.
How do you use your voice? How do you share your story with the world?
If you’d like some help learning to free your voice and share who you are in writing, then come check out our writing group.