Using your voice for good
The past few weeks have been pretty challenging at Bottlefor2 HQ.
We have been crippled by illness.
First Elsie, and then me.
To tell you the truth, it’s been pretty miserable. Not least, because I have lost my voice.
It disappeared about ten days ago, with no sign of returning.
So I’ve been feeling shocking, but even worse, can’t talk about it!
It got me thinking about the importance of a voice.
Being poorly and not being able to speak has been so incredibly frustrating.
Those of you who know me, know that I love to chat.
I love to talk, I love to sing, love to socialise.
I love to use my voice.
Communication is important to me. Communication is what gets me through the day.
Conversation is therapy to me.
It lifts me up and reminds me of what is important in life: the people in it.
I don’t know if you have ever tried looking after a toddler all day without being able to speak to them.
I can tell you, it gets pretty challenging.
First, it’s very difficult from a safety point of view when you want to be able to warn or say ‘no’ to something that could cause harm.
But then there are all the little things like the endless stream of books Elsie brings over for me to read. And I can’t really read them.
I try. I try to whisper. But it isn’t the same.
Elsie is also learning to speak. She has a lot of words, but doesn’t do sentences yet. I normally converse with her day to day, to help her learn to speak, to interact with her, to entertain her. She understands a lot of what I say even if she can’t say it yet, and it is an amazing experience. (When you can actually make a sound).
Then there’s the singing.
Elsie is always trying to get me to sing songs with her. ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, ‘Wind the Bobbin up’ and ‘Let it go’, to name three favourites.
I’ve resorted to whispering with actions!
Singing has always been my magic trick. Whenever Elsie gets upset or cross, I have pretty much always managed to diffuse the situation with a song.
Crying in the bath, sing a song.
Screaming, refusing a nappy change, sing a song. You get the idea.
My lack of voice seriously disables my Mum Powers, like a pocket full of Kryptonite.
So kick me when I’m down why don’t you. Fill me with lurgy and take away my super powers. And then also take away the one thing that helps me feel better too.
Being confined to the house due to the contagious lurgy means I can’t get out to see my friends, or have company.
At home I can’t even talk to my husband and daughter.
There is loneliness in the silence, and frustration that you have something to say and can’t say it.
I started thinking about all the lonely people out there. How sad it must be to have something to say, but no one to talk with. All the time. Not just for two weeks.
We can all make a little bit of a difference each day, just by saying hello or having a conversation with someone to brighten up their day.
My suggestion: If you have a voice, use it for good.
Perhaps you know someone who might be having a difficult time, for whatever reason. Your voice could make all the difference to their day.
Maybe someone needs help with an idea, and you are just the person they need to speak with to talk it through.
Or you just might know someone who might not have spoken to anyone recently, and a conversation would lift their spirits.
Because conversation is therapy. It connects you to the world and the people in it. It helps you share thoughts and laughter; happiness and sadness; ideas and dreams.
It helps you do this in a real way. Person to person, voice to voice.
Much that I appreciate technology, and how it helps me communicate when I have no physical voice, (I can still write on facebook and text my friends to say I can’t come out because I’m ill and can’t speak), it still doesn’t replace the drug like buzz you can get from physically conversing with someone.
Conversation helps you feel part of something, however big or small.
Part of something, and not alone in the silence.
Until I lost my voice, I had forgotten just how important a voice is. Not just for practicalities, or singing my way out of a toddler tantrum, but for conversation.
For connecting, for communicating, for being part of something.
Being able to make a difference to someone just by engaging in conversation.
Now that is a gift.
Our voices are a gift, let’s use them for good.
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