Over the weekend, I attended a music conference on a college campus near my hometown. My cousin came in from Ohio, and we shared a dorm room and lots of memories and got all silly just like we were actual college roommates.
Saturday morning, she wanted to go to a session called “Singing for Shy People,” which I’d been on the fence about attending, as a person who identifies as shy and who also sings. “Why would singing be different for shy people?” was my question.
When my cousin said she wanted to go, I decided the best way to find out would be to join her. Also, I was secretly curious to see who else at the conference identified as being shy.
Clearly I did not know what to expect, and what happened during the session, I couldn’t have predicted. These “shy” people, without hesitation, poured out their vulnerable hearts.
I’m still processing the experience, but some of the themes I recognized sprang from old familiar voices rooted in insecurity. Some attendees shared the childhood experience that prompted their insecurities. Some launched right into the insecurity itself.
I related to all of it.
The evolution of my own voice, I realized during the session, has been fascinating. This is the organizing metaphor for my healing journey. But how metaphorical is it?
Over the past few years, I have worked to strengthen my voice by taking singing lessons. The grand experiment was to see if that strength would transfer to my speaking voice, allowing me to say what I have to say out into the world. Whether I do that through a song or some other method, the mechanism—the vehicle for the message is quite literally the voice.
So how closely related to trauma and healing is our voice? All of it revolves around what I see as a paradoxical dichotomy between a deep human need and desire for and, for some of us, a simultaneous debilitating fear of, being seen and heard.
There is so much to unpack and explore around all this. I am in the process of re-envisioning my coaching work to build a community that incorporates life coaching options with creative/artistic exploration and expression. In this community, we’ll explore and dig deeper into these topics.