For a long time, I was embarrassed about the way my voice sounds. It’s still one of the things I have the most trouble with since the great “Hey, let’s grow 8 inches taller than everyone else in our class!” debacle of my teenage years.
It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally feeling more comfortable with my body. I actually own (and occasionally wear!) heels now. Take that, feet!
Now I’m starting to warm up to my voice as well. When I think about it, one of the biggest catalysts happened several months ago. I randomly met a group of women visiting Vancouver from Seattle — two couples a decade or so older than me. We struck up a conversation and, one of them mentioned –without any fishing on my part– that she thought I had had a great voice. The other three chimed in, agreeing that my voice was “hot” and did I sing? Oh, but I should! I’d sound great. One of them compared it to “Shane, you know, from the L Word?” This was met with agreement and much nodding.
What!? These are not sentiments I’ve often heard. Were they messing with me? No, that didn’t seem likely, given the spontaneity and apparent sincerity of their words. Sure, perhaps their comparison to Katherine Moennig as Shane was a bit of a stretch, but then again, I’ve always known that I was being just a tad insecure and self-deprecating by describing my voice as sounding like Captain Janeway as portrayed by Bea Arthur.
Days later, after I’d given their words some thought, I realized that even if their opinion isn’t one that’s broadly agreed-upon, that’s not important. What is important is the source of the sentiment: a group of seemingly successful, socially-inclined gay women. Sure, in general terms, it’s nice being told you have an attractive quality, but I know that I’ve always been far more receptive to compliments from the cute girl handing me my coffee than from some random dude as I step around him on the street.
So maybe it doesn’t matter if everyone thinks my voice is hot, so long as it’s possible that someone does. We all seek validation from others, despite mostly realizing that it’s not particularly healthy and that we should feel good about ourselves without needing someone else’s approval. Still, free compliments feel good, particularly when they come from someone unexpected. The fact that it came from several someones — several lesbian someones — made it all the more satisfying to hear.
So where does this newfound sense of not-total-loathing leave me now? I came away from the Northern Voice 2007 conference with an interest in video blogging. I’m beta testing Second Life’s upcoming voice chat system, and as I write this, I realize that I can’t remember the last time I felt anxiety about using the phone. Wow. Maybe just singing along to Dar and Ani isn’t such a far-fetched idea after all.
Sometimes, positive change happens without us even being fully aware of it. I’d like to keep that up.