• Sonja Nannan

Voice Respect.

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

I am on a mission. I want people to feel good about their voices. Just like I am learning to feel good about my body.

After 30 years of dieting and feeling bad about myself, I am finally allowing myself to accept who I am without trying to change. I watched the movie "Embrace", I am following Taryn Brumfitt and her Body Image Movement. I read the book "Body Respect" by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor and I think it is finally something that makes sense. Starting to respect my body has given me the freedom to let go of expectations and rules and I am looking inwards now for what my body needs.

The reason I am telling you this is that my voice and your voice is also faced with a lot of judgement, expectations and rules. As children we just sing and use our voice for play, as adults we judge everything that comes out of our mouths... we lose the connection with our voice. And in my capacity as singing teacher and vocal coach I get to tell people what is wrong with their voices and what they need to change... but do they really need to?

I know that when I started my voice training at 14 I wanted to sound like the singers I was listening to. I knew that my voice was not good enough and learning how to sing properly would bring me adoration. I hated my body, but I saw potential in my voice. I thought by having the "perfect" voice, I would become confident as well.

The thing is, as my voice got better and better, my confidence didn't. I still saw myself as too fat and by the time I finished my singing education already too old (at 23!!) to pursue singing professionally.

My voice was well trained, I could sing with power and show my students what their voices "should" sound like. I sang in a gospel group at weddings and it also helped me impress a few guys along the way (which I really enjoyed!! :)) but in general it was like something that didn't belong to me. Like a prosthesis.

So the conclusion I have come to is the following: if we just train our voices and don't accept and embrace who we are, we will never be satisfied. Just like pursuing the perfect body, which is supposed to help us love ourselves, we will always be dependent on the judgment of others. Other people telling us whether we are worthy of love and acceptance.

So if you want to feel confident about your voice, feeling good inside your body can go a long way. You need to accept it, see its beauty and embrace its "flaws". You need to show up for your voice. Your voice is part of your body and it's the only one you have.

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