Voices

Somewhere along the way, I read that people do not necessarily speak in their own voice.  And the idea of it kind of threw me.  I had always thought I was speaking in the voice that was uniquely mine in every way. But to think that maybe my voice – literally, the sound of it, intonation and pitch, whatever – was just something I acquired from my environment, like a songbird ….well, it felt a little weird.   Especially since I never felt I belonged anywhere as a child.

I mean, it all made sense when I thought about it and was easy to see when it came to accents and twangs.  It also explained why every women in the night admin pool at my old job — many of whom were from the same part of the city — all had those Edith Bunker voices: high pitched nasal squeaks, frequently ending with a lilt at the end that suggested a fundamental doubt about themselves.

But because the sound of your voice seemed to be so defining and so intimate, it was strange to think that you could be speaking in someone else’s voice.  I mean, how would you ever discover your own voice?  And whose voice had I taken as mine ?

And what about all the people I had talked to over the phone and never seen… when I spoke to them, I gave them a face in my head based entirely on the sound of their voice. And of course, the face in my head almost never matched the real person. Wouldn’t it be funny if the face I had in my head was the real person from whom that voice first emanated, echoing down through the years in some other person now ?

And yes, this is the stuff that rattles around in my brain some nights.

I think I might need a life.

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