Every now and then, the perfect storm hits. Allergies stuff up my sinuses so that all musical sounds come straight out of my throat completely missing the amazing resonance of the sinus cavities. (I laugh when people say things like: “he sounds like he sings through his nose” when, in fact, we all sing through our noses.) This, combined with a few, select shows and a 2 hour festival performance outside….and VOILA!! Voice loss. Yesterday was a whisper. Today is a squeak. I’d say that’s pretty amazing progress.
These moments are a good test to see how much I’ve attached my identity to my voice. I’m proud to say that this time is not as bad as some of the others. My fear, always, is that I’ll end up alone with no husband and no friends working day-shift in the freezer of a meat-packing factory. I’ve spared you the entire middle story. I’ll tell it another day. Notice that nowhere in my ultimate fear statement does it say that I’ll be sad. Sadness is assumed but not guaranteed. Notice also that it would be day-shift at the meat-packing factory. The one luxury that makes me feel like a millionaire is to wake up in the morning without an alarm. My wake-up ritual can take up to two hours. I used to feel guilty or lazy about it. Now I just own it. Sanity is either expensive or time consuming. I chose the time consuming method.
I digress. Despite this squeaky voice, my body is very happy today. The snow has fallen and it has covered up whatever plant or mold that causes my allergies. There are still remnants left in my body from a month of overactive histamines. But I can tell they’ve shut down the war troop units in my head and chest and the cleaning cells are moving in saying things like “wow, are you sure this war was even necessary? I think this ‘bacteria’ is a just a bit of plant pollen and we could’ve flushed that out with all the other stuff?” And my warrior cells are like: “Well we didn’t know what it was for sure, so we just stuck to protocol. We’ll probably do it again in the spring if she snorts up some of that ragweed.” I want to be angry at my warrior cells, but I know they mean well. Like all other conflicts in the world, they suffer from misunderstanding.
Strangely, losing my voice has reminded me of some amazing things about humans. Yesterday, Quentin and I experienced a family crisis and so had to take a long drive and visit someone in hospital. The best thing to do when you have damaged vocal chords, is to let them heal…which means no talking. So, I found myself wanting to ask questions to gain clarity on the situation, but was forced to stay silent and to let things unfold. It was frustrating at first, but I noticed that each question was answered in time. As the day went on, I found myself asking mental questions and then immediately reassuring myself that all questions are answered in good time. Turns out that, even though most questions could be answered, they were never accurately answered. So much conversation is based on speculation….When did he go into hospital? How does he feel? etc. In addition, I realized that my questions weren’t actually necessary. If I were to put into words what most conversations would look like if we took out all unnecessary questions it would probably look like this: “I want to feel connected to you. Do you want to feel connected to me? Let’s make sounds back and forth so that we feel connected during this long car ride.” Arriving at the hospital and visiting with family the conversation is the same again. I don’t need to know every medical detail or the times at which the nurses will come. All I want to say is, “I’m here to connect with you and to remind you that you are not alone.” And what really fascinates me is that you can by-pass ALL of small talk, speculation, and detail by holding someone’s hand or looking in their eyes. With some people, you don’t even need that. You can energetically have these conversations without looking at them or touching them. Silence is powerful. I’m going to practice it more.
The other amazing thing I noticed while trying to be quiet, was that when you whisper, people tune into you. They smile, get closer, and start whispering too!! Conversations become very quiet when there is a whisperer among them. I even noticed this with complete strangers… like the two, young, loud convenience store clerks I was trying to buy cough drops from. My whispering turned them into gentle giants. Amazing!
And so I sit in silence today. Enjoying the slow cleansing of my sinuses and chest. Careful not to sink into any fearful thought patterns or stories around losing my voice forever. It is a beautiful snowy day. The geese are still cruising around enjoying what’s left of the open water. I wonder if there is a voiceless goose among them and if they’re like: ”Oh, that’s Fred. He lost his voice honking too much over the week-end.” And Fred will just nod and smile… all the while starting to realize that it’s totally not necessary to honk so much!!
Happy week to you!