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“Lost My Voice for Love”: An Inquiry Into Intentional Inauthenticity April 22, 2006

Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions, Dynamics of Resistance, Evolution of We.

This post is in further response to Rod's comment about losing one's VOICE. He's a family therapist and he's concerned about having folks, especially women, recover their VOICE. I like that, and it sounds like an interesting and useful pursuit. So I'm looking into it to see what I can discover about this dynamic of "losing one's VOICE for love".

First, let's get what he's saying about VOICE. Since he's using the all caps version of the word, I'm thinking this is really important. And although he complimented the VOICE in my blog, presumably pointing to what was written — the words and all that, here is what I think he's actually referring to:

One's VOICE is the natural expression of the essential Self.

(Let me know if I'm wrong, Rod, or if I missed the point completely, be gentle – I've got the whole rest of the post to share with you! YMB)

Such authentic expression might come out through your mouth in voice (lower case), as in speaking or singing.

Or it might come into the world through the use of other body parts, hands, feet, etc. How you move, where you go, if you dance or applaud, make art, clean grandstands, fly airplanes – that's all your VOICE too, I think.

Or it might be what's left when you're not there, like the way people are feeling after they've visited with you, the experience they are left with of life, the world, of themselves. That might be your VOICE too. I can get this when I think of particularly inspiring folks – they leave me uplifted, and that is definitely something that came from then, whether they said anything or not.

One's VOICE could even be in just the way you listen. Like last weekend when Dad was here and I was sorting out a bunch of 'stuff of life' – he just listened until I got it all out and clear for myself. And interestingly, that listening was his VOICE, his expression in my life. It's one of the most important parts of what I remember and relish about our time together. It was an expression of care that I say came from his essential Self.

There's more to get into here I think, like more about what are the qualities of the VOICE, how can you tell when you're in yours or someone else is in theirs, etc. etc. But I'm going to leave that for now to get onto the thing I thought I was going to start with ….

Second point: I see there are four parts to this notion we're dealing with:

1. Losing    2. It    3. For    4. Love

1. On Losing: Okay, so did I lose it? or did I:

  • stuff it
  • forget it
  • blind myself to it
  • trade it in
  • drop it
  • stow it
  • give it back
  • invest it
  • fold/spindle/mutilate it 
  • bury it
  • break it
  • put it in my shoe for later
  • loan it to my brother
  • entrust it to my country
  • leave it on a bench
  • let it get stolen
  • arrange to have it demolished by an unsuspecting other

Seems like the strategy for recovering a VOICE, or anything really, has to do with how it was "lost". If I broke it, maybe I need to put it back together or repair it with glue or something. If I blinded myself to it, I'd have to deal with my eyes, not my voice. So it's really important I think, to get this part clear first. Sort of like finding your keys: start with the last time you saw them and retrace steps from there. If I buried it, there'd be some dirt balls somewhere, don't you think? Unless I did a really good job of cleaning up and then there'd be a really tidy place all around it – a sure tip off that something strange was going on there.

(There's so much we don't know about the VOICE; please see the list of Future Potential Inquiries below and then launch an inquiry of your own.)

2. On It: Was it my VOICE I lost? When I look at those times in the past where someone might have said I'd lost my VOICE, I really didn't lose the VOICE, just didn't let it get out where people could see and interpret it they way they were used to be able to do. it was still there, but what got expressed in the world was something unfamiliar. In my case it was 14 tumors. You gotta know there was definitely something to be said; I just couldn't figure out how to express it without crashing my world, so to the best of my inability and unwillingness, I picked the next best avenue for that energy – not too functional an expression, but it wasn't lost.

So if I did have the VOICE, maybe what I didn't have was the vehicle to express the energy of the VOICE so it would be well-interpreted or not make my life miserable or something like that. Maybe when I was hiding the VOICE, the it I lost was the confidence or the vehicle or the ability to allow the expression of the authentic VOICE. I'm just really thinking that the expression of the essential Self can't ever be lost.

Seems to me that VOICE is just not separable from the Self. So if there's a Self, there's expression. And if you have a person, don't you always have a Self? What else would there be?

3. On For: This is pretty clear, we do what we do for, or in service to, or in order to accomplish something. Like, we think that "If I do this – lose this thing, then I'll gain that." Doesn't it seem like that logic says the two couldn't co-exist? Like if I move my coats out of the closet I can put my dresses in there. Or if I get rid of the stuff in the garage, I can fit my car in. Sure, this kind of logic works with things, but I don't know if it's relevant with things like VOICE and love … Maybe some notions of love and VOICE don't allow space enough that each could co-exist – but others would?

Now that's really interesting. So what kind of "love" or "VOICE" is like coats in closets or boxes in garage, versus fragrance in the air where sunshine can be there too? I'm thinking that the kind of VOICE I'm talking about is the one that can co-exist. And the one I think I lose for love is the one like boxes in the garage, the one that has to take a position and hold it against the encroachment of something else that is equally as hard and dense.

4. On Love: Okay this is where the inquiry gets really wierd. I don't think I "lost it for love" but maybe for that other darn notion of marital bliss, passionate union or some fantasy of not-real-life-with-a-real-live-person, some as yet un-grown-up dream of freeze-frame, ever-after-so-there-and-don't-you-go-getting-wrinkly-and-hard-of-hearing-on-me-now!

Some of us "lose it for love” but some of us "lose it" … not for love I think, but maybe for “safety” is the only thing that comes to mind, really. Because what could be greater than love? It's probably the case that I really only "lost my voice" when I was feeling threatened, not able to deal with a situation, just not up to communicating, overcome with the challenge of living at that moment, rather give up and shut up than stand up and make up. If we look, I'll bet what we get back in those moments isn't love at all, maybe some kind of counterfeit or substitute, but not the love like sunshine and rain all together at once.

Belated Bottom Line: So after this long-darn two-day-coming inquiry, I'm really suspicious that any Self can actually "lose" their "VOICE". My bet: it's an inside job, like, for the insurance money or something. I think it's pretty probable that sometimes we lazy-sons-of-guns don't want to do what we think we would have to do to honor our VOICE right up front (like, maybe we'd have to grow up, deal with another's anger, stand for ourselves, hold someone to account, apologize, change our opinion, update our wardrobe, or something equally challenging).

So we be sly and take some lazy man's way out then blame it all on the donkey. [That's from the story of the monkey that drank the cow's milk from the pail and then rubbed some of the cream on the donkey's mouth so when the farmer returned he beat the donkey.]

No problem really – that's one way to have a life, but it makes "recovering" the VOICE a bit of a goose chase, don't you think? Good work for psychologists though, LOL!

Thanks so much to Rod for such a great "Irish pennant" – I could pull on this one all day and there'd still be plenty of sweater to unravel! It was a great launchpad for checking into this oh too common trauma drama. Believe me, I myself have starred in that one way more than once!

Future Potential Inquiries: Were does VOICE come from originally? What calls it out? What does VOICE like to hang around with? Under what conditions does the VOICE ebb or flow? Can one's VOICE actually be lost/broken/stuffed, etc.? What is/How does one locate and keep running the vehicle for the expression of the authentic VOICE?



1. Rod - April 24, 2006

…. I am on the move so I cannot read this beautiful writing in its completeness now…… but please look at "Finding Your Unique Voice in all your Relationships" in RodESmith.wordpress.com — it was posted in March.

2. spcabrera - April 30, 2006

Hi Yvonne!

My perspectives:

On "VOICE": I like your definition here. The natural expression of the essential Self. Wonderful – let's use it.

On "losing": from the definition of "voice" how can it be lost? In any situation there is a natural expression of your essential self. You either express or not express – there's nothing lost. In the past you have either expressed or not expressed – what is lost? This "losing" conversation can very quickly lead to forensic analysis that really could be droped in favour of simply naturally expressing your essential self in the moment. In this sense, contemplating the idea of "losing" is itself a missed opportunity to express your Self.

On "Love": I have some committed views on Love (see my latest post). In short – from my perspective "love" wouldn't allow for and "loss" or "compromise" – is there are these things, one is comfusing love for something else (again – my post elaborates).

3. litlove - May 24, 2006

I think the voice is easily repressed or constrained if we think that it wants to say something unacceptable. So losing it for love is inevitably in some ways, if that ‘for’ is seen as a trade. Of course nothing is ever unacceptable if it’s voiced the right way, without aggression and with honesty, but it’s very easy to lose sight of that in the moment.

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