I lost my voice for an entire year.
As an elementary school teacher, I would harshly whisper my way through my days.
By Saturday, I'd be on house arrest because speaking at all was painful. No talking on the phone. No hellos to my roommates (I literally had signs in the house). Definitely no joining anyone at brunch or out for a drink because my vocal cords were shot.
Even now, my voice is much huskier because of it.
I knew that something was deeply wrong. None of my coworkers faced this problem. And this wasn't my first rodeo. I had taught for four years prior.
However, the demands of this job were different. I wasn't prepared for the physical and emotional hardship of this job.
In this position, we were told that our job was "to be the most fun person in the school."
"YES! Finally! I'm in charge of all the fun!" I thought.
It started out grand. I sang in the hallways to the kiddos. I had boundless energy and pulled the 12+ hour days of serious physical activity and leadership programs with no holds bar.
But I burnt out. Fast. Before I even knew (because denial is not just a river in Egypt) my body was literally yelling it at me.
Truth: I burn fast and bright. I love the inspiration, the creation, and the high of connection with people.
Also true: I'm not joyful all the time. I'm not high energy all the time. I need double the time to nourish, nurture, and regenerate for my spirit. I'm quiet. I'm introspective. For as much as I love gallivanting around hugging everyone, I need two days on my couch or in a park with a book and my journal.
The expectations were too high and this time, I had gone over the edge.
When you are blocking or ignoring your truth -- your body will tell you.
I took a new job where the pay was more but my ideas and my contributions were not valued nor heard.
Many days, tears leeched out of my eyes no matter how often I told myself it did not matter and I should not care.
When you're blocking or ignoring your truth -- your body will tell you.
I left that job. I started a business but was still learning to fully embrace my truth and share it out.
When you start speaking your truth, you will have days, weeks, months to spew out first. You do not know yet how to trust your own thoughts, feelings, and words.
You are learning:
How to speak your truth.
How to own your voice.
How to claim your power.
All of these things are coming, but treat yourself with kindness as you detox the days, months, or years you have been stuffing it down.
Here are six steps to walk through as you practice speaking your truth.
1. Tune in.
Make time to listen to your deepest needs. Journal. Speak voice notes to yourself. Reverence and honor of yourself and your process are important as you grow into deep understanding of your truth. Your body knows when you are giving it time. Make space.
2. Establish trust with yourself.
You're going to realize that you are walking a path. That while you may be in process, you will have different thoughts and feelings. It is a process of REVELATION. Memories, perhaps, you didn't know you had, will come to the surface. Trust this process.
3. Know and care for all the parts of yourself.
A recent client was telling me about her thoughts about her dream weekend and it was turning into a battle in her head.
One voice said, "Get it together!" while another wanted her to, "Slow down, please."
You're not alone there. We all have different parts of ourselves that have needs and wants for our life and livelihood. It's normal. It's like a Board of Directors of You, Inc. You must do the work to know who is sitting on your Board of Directors, because they are making decisions for you.
4. Get seen.
Let me be clear, that this is not a recipe list. You don't need to follow these steps in order. The fastest way to know your truth, to know that you are NOT crazy, is to be seen. Have others, in a safe space, see what is true for you, see your wrestle, and bear witness to your life. This is essential for human life and for love and for happiness, and it's the foundation upon which SoulSpeak was created.
5. Find a partner in this journey that can support you (not a lover!)
A therapist. A coach. A healer of some sort that can actually support you in big ways on this journey. Having a strong mirror and someone that can hold you AND push you as you grow which is essential for big growth and for CLEARLY claiming the life that you so desire.
6. Start now.
Even if your voice shakes. Even if you have to say words and then you change them, because that, my sweet and fierce woman, is what truth telling is about. Sometimes it changes for you. Speaking your truth means that you are true to what is TRUE for you in this moment, in this moment, and now in this moment. It is okay, if you change your mind. You can say yes. You can say no. You can decide to change. It is okay. But you must practice to know what is true for you.