I am about 8 years old, my teenage sister has a French exchange student, Alain, who'll be with us for a few weeks - the excitement!
With my natural ebullience I chatter away as we welcome him, and at one point my mother says "Ah oui, Elise parles toujours, tous les jours!" (Yes,Elise talks all day, every day). Either I already spoke a bit of French or someone translated, anyway I understood, and was mortified, and ran off to my room. As often happened, it was my father who came to find me, and make it all good: " Mum just meant that you have a strong, expressive voice, you'll be a great actress!"
(With that childish wisdom which we all once possessed I saw through the tactic he was using to cheer me up, but was comforted nonetheless!)
Fast forward to a young woman in her twenties. I'd graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and was very comfortable singing on any stage in any musical style. But, speaking in public, not comfortable, not "in my skin". Familiar?
I was always conflicted during lectures, sometimes there'd be a comment I was dying to make (8-year-old enthusiasm) but was afraid to sound stupid, to show my lack of knowledge I doubted, got nervous, lost the moment and someone else spoke up - and got the credit!
Sad that the spontaneity, the easy confidence to "speak up" of the 8-year old often fails us later in life.
But I was luckily able to literally "get my voice back" … through my voice!
I became increasingly involved in avant-garde, experimental music, where composers demanded that I improvise the notes or rhythms, spoken language or phonetic sounds … it became necessary to PLAY, to explore my repertoire of sounds and emotions and reconnect in an instinctive way to my creativity … to me.
When later I was found myself coaching Boards of directors of multi-nationals - powerful people the like of which I'd had no experience in my line of study and work - I had no hesitation at all; I could boss the bosses!
Aujourd'hui, Elise parles quand elle veut, comme elle veut!
(Nowadays, Elise speaks whenever she likes, however she likes!)
Furthermore, this exploration became the basis of my coaching methodology, helping clients rediscover their 8-year-old joie de vivre - freedom and fearlessness.
I'm very curious to hear others' experiences with voice and speaking up. As a child or an adult. Positive or negative.