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It's Time to Reflect a New Voice

Before we dig in, I should warn you that my thoughts these days are heavily focused on how to best navigate the radical shifts shaping my life right now. On that note, I decided to get back to my daily writing practice. Writing has always been a healing space for me, and now feels like the right time to reground myself after a year of life’s not-so-gentle turbulence.

Foolishly, I thought it would be as simple as sitting in my chair with a pen and paper, letting the ideas just flow right on out of me. Suffice it to say that’s not how it’s gone down. In fact, my efforts have proven far from fruitful. Instead, I’ve found myself creating nothing more than a pile of jagged thoughts, their paper remains scattered around me like broken shards of mirrored glass.

It turns out, in the time away from the page, I seem to have misplaced my voice.

I do have ideas. I string together words. Sometimes even a full sentence or two. I’ve been encouraged by a few that start off like real winners, but then never seem to take shape. The words slowly fizzle out, ultimately vaporizing into a dead end of nothingness.

And then there are those ideas that trick me into thinking I’m back in my zone. Hooked by their lead, I write furiously for a page or two. But when I lift my head to see where I am, I find I’ve been led down a narrative path that sounds more like something that was conjured up in a stranger’s mind. The words don’t feel like me.

The result of my attempts has been that either the words abandon me, or I abandon them.

Thoughts that might have served their purpose once, now feel empty, foreign, and incomplete. The ideas are there, but I can no longer give them voice.

I was intrigued by a philosophy put forth by the character Quentin Sellers in the movie “Vengeance”, who purported “Nobody writes anything; all we do is translate.” The idea being that what we give voice to is a reflection, or a translation, of how we see the world.

And this could explain the predicament I find myself in. Because naturally when you face those times life makes a seismic shift – when things around you are changing so much, you are forced to redefine the way you see the world. And in this new space, it makes sense you’d need time to hone a new voice.

The ideas I’m weighed down by are likely ghosts from narratives past. This isn’t bad or wrong. But just like those shards of a broken mirror, they’re not useful to me anymore.

You might be reading this thinking “OMG! She’s having a mid-life crisis!” And to a degree, you may be right. But to me it lands more like a crisis of confidence: “Will I come through this with the strength I need to support the next iteration of life I am being pulled to?”

The truth is, I’ve been very, very comfortable in my life for a long, long time. It’s been nearly 3 decades since I launched into anything that could be considered a radical shift. And from that experience I remember that it takes a lot of energy, patience, self-love, and perseverance to prevail.

To craft that new voice, I need to step back and really look at the current state of things. I have to start by asking myself “When I write, who am I speaking for? Whose truths am I reflecting?”

Because at some point it started to feel like another force took over as the DJ for my life’s soundtrack. And I need to get that soundboard back. As my life shifts, it’s vital that I shift my narrative to something more aligned with that next iteration my soul is calling me to embrace. I want my words to reflect a new voice -- a voice that supports me in moving through this shift with strength, courage, and ease.

So now what? Well, as this new reality begins to take on its various shapes, I believe there is power in my being more intentional with what I choose to give voice to. Not practicing the same old song and dance, but instead really fine-tuning and creating the world that I then want to translate—or reflect in my new voice as it may be.

And that’s the beauty of writing: it always reflects back to you where you are while it pulls you to more and greater possibilities. It gives you an opportunity to choose, to translate for yourself, rather than merely consuming and living the reflections of others.

For now, I will continue to make space to sit with my pen and paper, letting the words move through me, carefully listening for what my life is calling me to do. I trust that the answers are there; all I need to do is translate.


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