To find your voice, you have to use it.

To find your voice, you have to use it.

There are a million and one reasons that we stay silent.

Fear of stepping out, of rocking the boat. Stories that we’ve consumed surrounding unworthiness. Lack mentality. Loss of a safe space for your voice to be heard or held. We fear that we have nothing to say. Or too much to say. Or, if we spoke the words that were truly in our hearts, the world would collapse around us.

For me, I believed that if I wasn’t perfect, if the words coming out of my mouth weren’t either dripping with impeccable knowledge or unquestionable compassion, those words were worthless. I was worthless. 

Over the past six years, I have fought hard to reclaim my voice.

I have stepped out in naked vulnerability through my writing and my work in the world. I have learned how to unleash my voice and how to help others find theirs again.

Each week, when I open my journal or come to this space, I practice, time and time again, how to plug into that stirring in my spirit, that soulful voice that cuts through the noise and bullshit and surface-level to-do’s and “shoulds.”

Because, time and again, I find that the practice of stepping out, knees knocking in fear or standing solid in conviction and courage, is one of transformation and strength.

And still… I find myself censoring.

Out of fear or perfectionism. Out of some confused sense of unworthiness. Out of an (incorrect) assumption that my words are just noise. Shame whispers… why add to the noise? What you have to say isn’t profound or transformative. After all, you’re just a girl. You’re not even a published author. You love writing, but no one wants to hear what you have to say. So, keep it locked down.

(To that shameful whisper, I respectfully say this: Eff. You.)

As I censor, I can feel that voice that I’ve worked so hard to unleash building up walls around it. As the shame or anxiety or fear sneaks in, she retreats, clamming up in heartbreak.

Here’s the deal with your voice.

To find it, you’ve got to use it. You’ve got to invite her out to play. You’ve got to screw up a few times, cracking and sputtering as your raspy voice struggles to find solid ground. You’re awakening something magical within you. And magic is almost always messy and unknown.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying something new in my written work. 

It’s not radical or new. But, I’ll be honest… it’s making magic of my creative practice.

Here’s my secret.

I write everyday.

Sometimes it’s 1,500 words, other times it’s five.

Some of my words make it online, through blogs or Facebook posts, in 140-characters on Twitter or unleashed in emails. To find my voice, to gain courage in stepping out in fear and vulnerability, I’ve got to use it.

Some of my words remain hidden, waiting to be unleashed in the world (or perhaps, to stay secret between me and my dearest loves). They are written in well-loved journals and in the notes on my phone, in text messages to my beloved soulmates, and some captured in the secret writing space that I keep online. To find my voice, to stay aligned with my integrity and authenticity, I’ve got to use it. Everyday.

What has writing everyday done for me? It puts a muzzle (albeit sometimes only temporarily) on my censor. As I practice using my voice, practice speaking and writing with authenticity and integrity and connection, he shrinks.

More importantly, my voice grows stronger, deeper, more trusting of my intuition and instinct. I can tell, looking back on the compilation of my written work, that I have and continue to come into my own.

To find your voice, you have to use it.

In the process of using mine, I’ve discovered something truly magical: that I’ve found myself, as well.