“You all sound terrible,” Sister Judith waved her bony finger at us. Her black habit swayed from the effort as our 6th-grade chorus struggled to learn new music for the annual Christmas program. “Each one of you is going to sing alone until I find out who is making that awful noise,” she bellowed.
One by one, we took our place next to the piano while she hit a note and signaled us to sing the phrase: “Silver Bells.”
“Fine,” she’d say and then bark, “next.” When it was my turn, I stood trembling next to the piano.
“Silver Bells,” I squeaked out.
“Sing so I can hear you,” she ordered. I complied, and that’s when she told me I could stand with the choir, but I was not to utter a sound. She announced to everyone that my singing was flat and ruining the entire song.
I held back from speaking up and didn’t insist on my voice being heard for years and years. I was mute. Not just in music class. In all areas of my life, in relationships and work situations.
By the way, I did sing again. I found music directors who kept me in the chorus and didn’t think I was singing flat. Our mixed chorus lacked male presence, so some of us Altos had to sing Tenor parts. I was never able to sing like a beautiful Soprano, so going low was OK for me. No solos, but happily participated in school choirs and even did community theatre as singer and dancer. I was included. I belonged because I had a legitimate role to play. I was confident in my contribution to the final result.
We all want that sense of belonging and have individual gifts to share with the world. Not only our voice as part of a choir, more importantly, giving voice to our unique message. Loud and clear so that those who are looking for us can indeed find us.
Have you ever felt like your voice didn’t matter? That no one would listen to you anyway. Well, someone is listening and has had quite an impact on your attitude and behavior for years.
Of course, someone had an impact on me! I can just hear your irritated tone. Look how they went so far as to intimidate, control, humiliate, or even bully.
I’m not talking about them.
I’ll tell you who I am talking about and you don’t have to go far to find them. Find a mirror and take a good look. Yes, I’m talking about that someone staring back from the mirror.
The past isn’t the reason we don’t speak up today. We don’t live in our history.
I’m no longer that 11-year-old who accepted being categorized as shy and quiet. I am a fun, creative, intelligent, and articulate individual. I know my voice matters.
I know your voice matters!
If this message resonates with you, let’s have a conversation about getting your voice heard. Take the next step on your visibility path by setting up a time to chat here! I’m looking forward to hearing your story!
Graphic credit: https://canva.com