Something very strange happened to me this weekend — I lost my voice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I was shouting my lungs out at a Beastie Boys concert. It was some strange combination of allergies, an infection, a decongestant, an antihistamine and lots of speaking in different classrooms. In a nut shell, it was “the perfect storm”! I’ve been on vocal rest all weekend, including complete abstinence from speaking today (Sunday). And I have to say, “I had no idea how much I use my voice!” It’s eye-opening.
What’s wild is that last week I was wondering what it would be like to go a whole day, or even a whole week without speaking. I was thinking about James Earl Jones and how he was silent for the bulk of his adolescent years. Then he spoke and out came the voice of Darth Vader (or maybe at that age it sounded more like Dark Helmet). I guess you could say my wondering became a fascination and then a reality. Funny how that happens…
Tomorrow is a school day, and I’m wondering if my voice will be healed and ready for use. Especially since I teach four classes on Mondays: Stage Combat at 8am, Voice & Diction at 10am & 11am, and then Sophomore Performance Studio at 1pm. I’m having visions of carrying around a big yellow legal pad and a black Sharpie all day. Maybe I’ll prepare a few phrases like “Oh, I’m fine. How are you? Isn’t this lovely weather we’re having?” Or maybe I’ll turn the whole day into a giant game of charades! “Two words….one syllable…sounds like….sounds like a Julia Roberts’ movie?!” 🙂
Overall, what I’m learning from this experience is the power of silence. I’m learning that if I don’t speak a word, my life will still be fine. And I hope that what will continue to resonate once my voice returns is the silent strength in the unvoiced communication. Because, whether we speak or not, we are always conveying a message. And maybe, just maybe, we use our voices because we’re afraid of the silence.