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Finding Your Voice

The key to finding your voice? The sounds of a summer night in Georgia allow the background to become the foreground. All else will fall into place.

Who I am is not so important as where I am.

And where I am is on a simple white frame porch, in a similarly styled rocking chair. Twilight and dusk have long since passed, and my gaze is on the constellations that you can no longer see when you are anywhere within a two-hour drive of a city center. Wrapped in a handmade wedding ring quilt from generations before, I rock slowly and methodically, the wooden boards beneath my feet creaking with every back-and-forth motion.

Cicadas dominate the day, but the katydids, the katydids rule the night. A light breeze blows, just cool enough for me to unconsciously pull the quilt a little bit tighter. I could sit for hours until the dawn crests in the east, but it won’t take that long.

This place is where I come to find my voice; the silence of the night that is anything but. Harmony between the katydids, the crickets, and the frogs—a cacophony of sounds--hypnotizes me.

Funny thing how silence enables you to find your voice.

But maybe not.

Social media, nonstop news cycles, and phones that never sleep constantly remind us that there are a myriad of issues going on right this very second, and really we should only listen to a chosen few. You know, the ones with all the followers, or subscribers, or enough credentials to line a room like wallpaper. Don’t worry about speaking up, just like, follow, or share.

And that is where we slowly but surely lose our way. Comments and conversations are replaced by likes and shares. Our voice loses its fervor, its pitch, its frequency.

The sounds of a summer night in Georgia has a way to counteract the fading. All you have to do is show up, turn off the phone, and just…be.

Focus on the here and now, the very emotions that define you as a person. Sort it out, one layer at a time, one rocking motion at a time, and before long you will get to the root of it all.

Yes, to find your voice, you have to listen first. Let the background become the foreground.

Because I come from a long line of women who were all about as fragile as a freight train, know that you are not for everyone. Accept that your voice is valuable, but it is also not FOR everyone. To illustrate that fact, we all have someone in our orbit who we desperately want to reply to with #unsubscribe. Don’t be afraid to only subscribe to people who enrich your life, and don’t take it personally if someone wants to #unsubscribe from what you have to say or have going on.

Your voice needs to be heard.

But that does not give you carte blanche. Surround yourself with people who will tell you when you are wrong. Who will challenge, respectfully, your actions and words. For they are who will always have your best interests in mind. The yes-men and yes-women of this world are fickle and tie themselves to others only out of their own overriding needs of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement.

Realize it is everyone’s duty to promote other’s voices.

The easiest way for someone to find their own voice? To be asked for it. Show others their voice matters by inviting them to share their views, their experiences. Further the conversation and you will find that when one voice is lifted, many others will follow.

Have you ever tried to listen for the first katydid of the night? Logically, there has to be one. But realistically, you will not find it. Instead, what you will hear is all the sounds that followed the first and carry on emboldened throughout the night.

My fingers find a few frayed pieces on the quilt surrounding me and fidget with them as my thoughts grow ever longer and ever deeper. The steady creaking of the rocking chair against the floorboards keeps time to the dance of anxieties and worries and hopes and dreams swirling like a Virginia reel in my head.

One by one, they get sorted out.

Slowly but surely, I find my voice.

I remember what matters.

Courtesy of the night with a million stars and the melody of nature’s greatest opus.


Immerse yourself in the sounds of a summer night in Georgia.

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