I have just been on 4 days voice rest. “Hallelujah….” said my family, friends, work colleagues….. anyone who knows me …. even vaguely….
But I knew what was to come: frustration and the devastation that comes with not being able to use the one thing that has defined me since I can remember.
When my voice was working well, it was easy to be flippant about how and when I used it, not giving any thought to resting it, let alone what I would do if I didn’t have it.
We use our voices all the time – well, I do – to communicate pleasure, displeasure, instruction and idle chit chat.
With a heavy schedule, being able to bark orders at the children, the dog and to anyone who needs a question answered, is taken for granted. To be able to explain the intricacies of feelings and thoughts is taken for granted.
It is exhausting to try and find ways to communicate what is needed or where something is, or what is for dinner! I have been very surprised at how fatigued it has made me. I am plagued by a constant internal monologue at the best of times, but being unable to have a conversation with anyone but myself leads to being more withdrawn than I thought possible of me.
At work, I help people by ‘leading by example’; singing with them to guide, build confidence and support. I make sure that I can explain how the Art of Singing works and then demonstrate this to the best of my ability.
Not being able to work in this way is truly frustrating for me. Not being able to support vocally and see, in such a short space of time, their confidence growing. It’s something that makes me happy. It’s what I’m proud of being able to achieve.
So what, I ponder, if my vocal chords are damaged permanently?
It’s never good to be negative I know, but nevertheless, it would be a lie to say that these thoughts haven’t entered my head occasionally. Would I have to redefine myself, both personally and professionally?
Communication is supposed to be only 20% words and yet society is conformed to rely on these words more and more: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. Phoning someone is now seen as a chore, whereas literally hundreds of messages can be pinged around in a day without impeding on ones busy schedule.
I don’t sing in concerts anymore and yet I’m comforted by the thought that that is my decision and I could if I wanted, or needed to, in the future.
One of my closest friends and a singer herself, described being in good voice to ‘driving a beautifully well oiled car’.
What if I never have the chance to experience this again? The thoughts and the emotions that it conjures up have surprised me.
It is interesting to see what I have learnt in these 4 days:
I have listened – ar at least tried to listen! – and learnt more about people I love and have made a mental note to listen more in the future.
I have realised that I need to rest and respect my voice more. After all, the vocal chords are very delicate things that deserve respect and nurturing if they are going to last …..
I think that’s about it! But at least there have been some positives….
Tomorrow is the start of rehabilitating the voice back to health. Reminding the voice how to work with the breathing to ensure proper vocal technique. It’s amazing how much rehab is needed after just 4 days!
I will start with breathing into some water with a straw and then practicing vocal exercises that no-one can be witness to….. and then hoping that the bruises on my vocal chords have gone and I can start singing again. Fingers crossed.