What inspires you to participate in Yip & Yelp? Please share your story with us in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
Gino says: When I was in grade school, I had much to say but a speech impediment kept me from fully expressing myself. Just when I would get ready to raise my hand to speak, the internal doubter would say: “What if you say something stupid? What if you can’t speak without stuttering?” This taunting voice left me painfully silent.
Then Ms. Downs, a junior high counselor, helped me out with my speech impediment. She taught me as long as you have air passing through your lungs as you speak, it is physically impossible to stutter. Soon after receiving her help, my confidence skyrocketed and I was competing in speech and debate contests and volunteering for public speaking opportunities. As you can imagine, I had plenty of pent-up expression to go around.
After college, I discovered the pleasures of being in my body. I practiced dance, movement, expressive arts, and sound exploration. As for sound exploration, I started experimenting with making wild sounds, babbling, whispering, without any deep need to understand the meaning of my voice but instead to feel the rhythm of my voice. Since then, I have felt more at home in my body and closer than ever to finding my “true voice.”
Jennifer says: Growing up, both my mother and one of my sisters who helped raise me had internalized the idea that they couldn’t sing well. Both of them also had deeper issues with not having been allowed to speak up for themselves. Unfortunately, this thinking was passed on to me, and I became one of those people who mouths the words to songs, hoping not to embarrass myself.
Thankfully, in my late teens I learned to reconnect to my voice on many levels – my creative voice, my emotional voice, but also my actual, physical voice when the contact improvisation sessions I was taking part in included different types of vocalizing. It was amazing to realize how much being comfortable with having a voice, and using it, is an important part of being present and comfortable in your body. I discovered I loved singing and didn’t have to wonder whether my voice was “good” or not; questioning my voice was almost like questioning whether my being here on Earth was good or not.
Today, I sing because it makes the world a more fun, more pleasant, and more bearable place to be. I sing when I’m doing dishes. I sing when my daughter doesn’t want to have her diaper changed. I sing when I’m in pain and don’t know what else to do.
And by singing I really just mean that I give voice to whatever I’m feeling in the moment. Sometimes it’s a silly song I make up, spur-of-the-moment; sometimes it’s an old song that I’ve always loved; sometimes it’s a roar; sometimes it’s more like a whisper. But whatever it is, it always makes me feel more present…more myself. And more okay with who that is.