What is a speaker, educator, radio show host, friend, confidante, and/or leader without a voice?  The answer is silent, hidden behind the curtain, marginalized, someone to be pitied and so much more.  I can see it in their eyes as I struggle to push each word out of my mouth only to have it croak and gasp as it enters the air.  It is a horrible sound.  It is not even the beautiful, husky, smoky voice of Lauren Bacall. It is just plain ugly. 

I believe my voice is my life and my movement. So what am I being told with my lost voice?

There is always the physical.  I had surgery in January and this ordeal began shortly thereafter.  So, was there a problem with the tubes they put down my throat to knock me out?  Was it that the surgery took 2 ½ hours and my throat didn’t like that? Was it something unrelated to the surgery?  Yes, it is physical, at least to some degree.  There is no explanation is to how it started, and I could see the damage done right on the x-ray.  My left vocal cord has a nodule on it that prevents the cord from vibrating. So, there’s that. There is also swelling in the surrounding tissue.  Therapy appears to be the answer for the physical with no timeframe as to when I will have my voice back.

Then there is the metaphysical explanation for the lost voice. Perhaps I was just a bit too out there in public.  I had a radio show, a workshop, speaking engagements, clients, and visibility as an expert on major news outlets like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, to name a few.  I am also an international best-selling author with a new book coming out in October. 

Perhaps I am afraid of communicating my message and that I will not be heard or might make someone angry with my words. Another thought is that I might be judged on the words I am speaking.  I am a woman over 50.  Is that not the beginning of my losing my value as a wise woman?  Is it the time when I should be hidden, at home with the grandchildren, not out teaching leadership to my peers and millennials?  Is it a time when I am being rejected for what I am trying to say?

What is the answer? 

I am not sure there is a clear answer to this.  I know that I will follow the protocols of my ENT and Speech Therapist as it will make my physical voice stronger.  I know that my message is not for everyone nor will it make everyone happy.   I have the right to express my opinions, my thoughts, my advice and counsel, and for others to disagree.  I know not to take negative responses personally, but rather to see them as “not now.” 

I have come to understand that, while my vocal wings may be clipped,  my message cannot be silenced or quieted. And, my voice is not the only communication that defines me.  As Alexander Graham Bell noted. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”  As someone who relies on her voice to get her message out there, it was a challenge to see the doors open to me, but I’ve learned there are so many other ways.  As a writer who is in the midst of writing my second solo book, my 6th anthology chapter, book reviews and forwards, magazine articles, blogs and such, my message is  continues to be spread around the world.  It is my time to fully express my words in alternate media.  

I will not hide my light under a barrel nor allow it to be dimmed by losing one aspect for a short time.  Rather, I am exploring other avenues of expression for my message to be unleashed.  I still can bring all the elements of feminine leadership like empathy, joy, creativity, connection, hope and love to life, joined with the masculine in a truly “comfluential” way. 

I know my story can and will inspire someone who is also living with clipped wings in whatever form that takes to explore the elements that truly define them which don’t necessarily require every body part to function at 100%.  So, I ask you to consider these questions, and please comment back to me:

  1. Have you ever experienced a roadblock plunked down in front of you just as you were inspired, motivated, and kicking some transformational butt? 
  2. Why do you think this happens?
  3. Do you stop what you’re doing and turn to find another direction on the road? Or…
  4. Do you bust the block and move forward?   

These are interesting times and this is something else that I know: I will not give up being a messenger of my vision, my movement, or my leadership.  For whatever reason I’m experiencing this right now, I’m using the experience to assess, to rest and rejuvenate, and to steel my resolve even more to use my voice to educate, inspire, and motivate women leaders to step into their comfluential leadership.