Today is your day to Spread Wing and Soar. Fly Life on Free Wings, and Sing to its Glory.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
For the last month or two I’ve felt lost in my writing—creating mediocre sentences, bad visuals…the creativity that once inhabited me left without warning. Still I wrote, fighting with myself the entire time. It was like I lost my gift. Until the other day.
In a roundabout way, singing, music, helped me find my passion again. I grew up singing, all the time singing, and at first I was shy. The entertainment industry judges you 90% on looks, and I went through a nasty ugly duckling stage. So my voice stayed small, hidden inside me until a voice teacher came along and pulled it out. Nothing was ever the same. I discovered this big, booming voice that could project throughout an auditorium without a microphone. That voice gave me confidence. I had a sudden upper hand, a trick that no one knew until I stood on stage and belted it out, like Julie Andrews spinning on the top of the hill singing. My voice was my secret weapon, the thing I fell back on when I was sad, or down, I’d turn on show tunes and sing until my throat hurt, until my body had released all its pain.
I knew my voice, every inch, and I could control it. The stage and I had become one, and live theatre was my life. Then I found writing. It was another way I could become someone else, play a role and unleash. And I loved every second.
But then, I stopped theatre and started singing in a band. At first I was liberated, I started playing myself, discovering who I was instead of developing the characters I played. But somewhere in the last six months to a year, I let the criticism of others, ones that didn’t think a Broadway belter belonged in that setting, tear me apart. My voice grew softer and softer till I found a spot in the background, hidden. It was a place I hadn’t been in 10 years. And it affected my writing too. The comments of others, especially people who believed certain music should be driven by men, not woman. I wasn’t confident in my own gifts, I lost my singing voice and my writing voice, and for the last month or so I’ve been trying to get it back, unsure how.
Then the other day I turned the radio on and sang. I mean really, really sang—belting my heart out, hitting notes at a volume and power that I hadn’t reached in years. I didn’t keep it timid and shy, only echoing and complimenting the leader. The sound was a beacon of hope, echoing in my ears, reminding me of who I was, what I always did, what made me happy. It was that moment, I found my voice again, not just singing, but writing.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how many lose their voice and how do they recover, how do they find it again? It’s a scary thing and it’s frustrating. So many days I wanted to beat my head against the wall because I knew how horrible my writing was and I knew I could do better. So maybe you’re reading this and you’re searching for yours again, maybe you found it, or maybe you’ve been down the same road. To those searching, it’ll come, in the strangest way possible it’ll come.