It happens to all of us sooner or later. One day something will come out of our mouths and it hits us: “Oh my goodness! I sound just like my mother!” Personally, as the mother of two beautiful, adult women, I would silently give my own mother in heaven a virtual high-five when I heard them not only quote me, but quote her as well!
While I certainly celebrate the idea that, yes, our kids were actually listening to us all of these years, there comes a time when we all have to find our own voice as we grow into adulthood. Sadly, as I watch my country continue to be torn apart by voices of separation, hatred, divisiveness and anger, my prayer every day is that people decide to silence those voices which, if they would just look back at their own lives, don’t really even belong to them. They belong to their parents, their peers, their teachers, their culture. With all of those voices competing to be heard, very often our own, authentic voices are drowned out. Pretty soon we don’t even know what our own voice sounds like.
I can remember, when I was starting out as a young writer, reading over and over in the rejections letters that I received for work I submitted, that I needed to find my own voice and write from it. At the time I was trying to emulate the voices and styles of the writers I admired instead of letting the uniqueness and authenticity of my own voice ring out on the page. It has taken me many years (and enough rejection letters to paper an entire room), to not only find, but recognize my own authentic voice in every area of my life, from writing, to politics, to my own spirituality, and especially when I witness injustices and intolerable situations.
It takes courage, my friends, to separate yourself from the crowd and decide that you will no longer let the “herd mentality” speak for you. The first time that you raise your hand and say, “No, I can’t agree with this, ” or, “No, I can’t and won’t let this continue,” you will recognize that voice as your very own. Nothing feels more like freedom than when you own your voice and the words that come out of it.
This week on the Home Page our writing assignment will ask you to find one idea or subject where you finally broke away from the herd and found your own voice. We can’t build an authentic life if we don’t first embrace our authentic voice. Go for it, folks, and remember to always, always, just keep writing.
Peace and blessings.