Mindful Monday #31 – Voice

Today is my one year anniversary of finding my voice!

People often ask what does finding my voice mean?  I started to study improv last year to nurture my creativity and I noticed a pattern. I was often the last person on stage, the last to speak and when I spoke I didn’t say a lot.  I grew frustrated with this pattern, week after week.  Why don’t I say more?  What does my lack of speaking on stage say about me in life?

I decided it was time to study my voice and take voice classes.  (Improv was the tipping point to study my voice.  I had focused on balancing my throat chakra, since I moved to Los Angeles. And always felt like I need to work on my voice since college.)  While focusing on my voice in voice class, I felt it would be a good idea to push myself to use my voice, in a public space, as often as I could.  I had the opportunity to read an original poem that I wrote. My poem was in response to a Native American art piece and I addressed my Mexican-American experience and all the ways I’ve been judged for not fulfilling my cultural stereotype.

As weeks led up to the reading I was paralyzed with fear.  I seriously pondered backing out of the reading.  I did not invite friends to the reading so I could give myself an out if I felt that it would be too hard to read the poem. However, if I did not read the poem, I knew I would regret it because it was an opportunity that I may not get again.  My fear really confused me. I don’t fear public speaking. I love it! Why am I so afraid?

The day of the poetry reading, as I read the poem, tears rolled down my eyes.  Overwhelmed with emotion, I paused in the middle of the poem and felt I couldn’t continue.  I stood at the podium, crying and trying my best to catch my breath.  I composed myself the best I could and pushed through the piece. I didn’t know it then, but I spoke my truth. A truth I never spoken. I never talked about the moments of judgement and comparisons and how hurtful it has been all these years, until I read that poem.

Upon reflection, I recalled a similar fear that I had to share my art that I was the most passionate about. Within my art, I show my heart…I show me. I once feared showing myself in my vibrancy as a result of people wanting to keep me in a model or an idea of how they felt I should be culturally, as a leader and as a studious, involved student.  If I ever stepped out of line, people would quickly correct me to fit into their idea of how I should be. Rather then fight, which was exhausting overtime, I watered myself down.  I didn’t know I was hurting myself in the process.

Finding my voice, meant finding me under all the layers I didn’t know hid me. That one moment, changed me and it changed my life.  I would not be: writing, blogging, living vulnerably, facing fears, writing a solo show, taking my leap of faith, etc. without that huge realization a year ago today.  This whole year was ignited by one realization and for that I am so grateful and will be forever grateful.  In honor of this special occasion, I want to focus the thought for the week on the voice or the voice within you that must be heard.


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