I’ve been thinking a lot about Voice lately…about what it means to use it, control it, cultivate it.
The Voice does so much.
We use our Voice to express ideas and share thoughts and give opinions and make arguments and be argumentative.
We use our Voice to provide support and offer advice and tell jokes and recite stories.
Our Voice can be both harsh and gentle, both encouraging and dismissive. We can adapt to the mood and sound excited or sad. Angry or calming.
We use our Voice to bring joy and sometimes to bring sorrow. To speak the truth and to speak lies. We use it to control the narrative. We can use our Voice for others, and we can use our Voice for ourselves.
See, told ya. Voice has big shoes to fill.
I recently purchased this little lovely pictured above at Gallery 16, a local shop in Greenwood, Delaware, just brimming with a delightful array of treasures tucked into its nooks and crannies. (It’s worth the drive, wherever you are.) I’m a sucker for jewelry and had been eying the new “spoon” collection for some time. It’s quickly become a favorite piece, and I wear it at least three times a week.
I love wearing things that serve as a reminder. (For example, I wear my Fitbit to remind me how NOT fit I really am.)
I like this reminder better:
“Be a voice, not an echo.”
No matter how you choose to use your Voice, or what you decide to say, please make it your own. This can be absolutely hard but absolutely important. (The best things always are.) Find your voice then claim it. Learn to recognize what it sounds like, then stand by it.
There’s a false sense of security when we become an echo. It’s easy to rest in those safe spaces where we can distance ourselves from what we say because we’re just repeating someone else. If it’s controversial or untrue or unpopular, we can duck and run and claim no ownership.
It’s also a lazy place to hide. You don’t contribute much to the world when you’re just a parrot for someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions. (Sorry, Iago.)
Don’t get me wrong. There are PLENTY of things that are more than echo-worthy:
You think taco Tuesday should be every day? I echo those sentiments.
You think Target should be required to set up shop in your hometown? I echo those sentiments.
You think we need to reroute money from the space program and put it towards researching a calorie free but still delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe? I echo those sentiments.
You think we should take away President Trump’s Twitter account? Girl, yes. I echo those sentiments all day long.
You think leggings are pants and Tina Fey should be required reading? I’m going to softly whisper that first statement and shout the second one from the rooftops. (The “leggings are pants argument” is a hot debate to enter into.)
But there’s plenty of non-echo-worthy things, too.
Things like gossip. And slander. And negativity. Things like little white lies and big bold lies and a whole assortment of nastiness that obviously we don’t WANT to echo, except sometimes a little part of us does. So we do.
(Let’s stop that, yes?)
The world needs your Voice. The world needs my Voice. The world needs all of our distinct, too much, too-little, too-soft, too-often, excited, opinionated, blunt, and irrational Symphony of Voices. Find it, and use it well. Even when it shakes. Even when you stutter or sputter or stumble or say the completely wrong thing at the wrong time
Even when no one is listening.
Be a voice, not an echo.