On Finding Your Voice

This may sound like a really strange question on a website about crafts, but it feels like an important one, and as we are both here anyway, I'm going to ask it: How is your voice? 

How easy is it for you to speak? How do you use your voice? It is strong, loud and confident? Do you find you speak quietly or with hesitation? Are you afraid to offend or look stupid? Do you feel able to speak up for yourself and others? How often do you 'bite your tongue' and why? Can you effectively express the way you are feeling and give voice to your thoughts? (At home? At work? In public?) What holds you back from speaking your truth? Do you know what your truth is? Do you lay awake at  night wishing you had said something, but you didn't? Please, stop reading for a moment to think about it.

These issues have been recurring frequently in the things I've been reading and watching, and also in a surprising number of casual conversations with different people. It felt like something I should write about today, although I hadn't planned to. Part of finding my own voice is to listen to my intuition, so I'm writing the words and if they strike a chord with you*, please read on. 

Detail from an art journal spread called 'Find Your Voice'

During one of the Woman Unleashed classes (info here) last week¹, host Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici made a comment which I noted in my journal and have been thinking about. The gist was that sometimes we find ourselves by losing ourselves and this brought my thoughts back to the question of having a voice. It struck a chord - when I started this blog back in 2011 I was quite lost and felt 'unheard'. I've written about it previously, but in summary - I'd left my career to have the children, then we moved to a new area and suffered a bereavement around the same time our youngest child was born. My husband threw himself into work and I was very much alone at home with the kids. The combination of all these things culminated in feeling as though I'd completely lost myself and my voice. I began suffering from regular throat infections and tonsillitis - I'd sometimes lose the physical ability to speak. 

When I started knitting and writing this blog, I discovered a brand new new 'self' / voice (creative blogger) by losing an old 'self' (career woman). Knitting is the thing that gave me a voice and a community. Incidentally, my throat problems gradually ceased when I began to speak up for myself in all areas of my life, but that's another story.
Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. - Maggie Kuhn
These days, my 'voice' is found in the pages of my art journal more than on the knitting needles - and sometimes things appear there before I've even formulated any words on a particular topic. For example, I painted the silently screaming woman (with a colourless mouth) in February and added the quotes in May when reading 'Witch' by Lisa Lister. A few other books² I've read also speak about finding your voice and truth - it's as if it has been rising up to the surface for a while. 

Art journal spread 'Find Your Voice', Sarah Knight 2017. Quotes from Lisa Lister's Witch (my review is here)

So how does this relate to my original question about your voice?
Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes. - Desmond Tutu 
I've written all of this as a reminder that your words matter. Literally. Your words create your reality and experience - they bring your thoughts into being. Which brings us to the next question - what happens when you can't fully express yourself? What does it mean to you? To your family? To your community?

I'll leave the answers up to you.

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* If you're reading this, I think there is probably a reason why. If the post resounds with you please click 'like' wherever you came across the link, or leave a comment below, to let me know.

¹ The class was called 'Unleash the Wild Woman' and is available as part of the free online retreat until July 15th 2017.

² Including Rise Sister Rise, Light is the New Black, and Goddess Wisdom (Amazon affiliate links).

9 comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I subscribed to your blog initially to see your wonderful knitting creations and join you as you developed your crochet skills and I developed mine. But it's posts like this that reach into my soul. I'm so very glad you found your voice in this blog and are leading and teaching others who are still searching for theirs.

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    1. Judy, your comment means so much to me - thank you. x

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  2. This resonates Sarah. I don't know what I am feeling, thinking or what I want let alone how to say it. Thank you for your guidance xxxx

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    1. Oh I hear you - I was in this position not so very long ago. My recommendation is to start a daily journaling practice if you don't already. No one else has to see it (or know it exists) but sometimes, just writing things down is enough to help you find words. xxxx

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  3. I love this Sarah, so many problems occur when people have no voice.
    I also love this slight deviation away from knitting or crochet that you do now and again, using your voice to empower others :-)

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I am sometimes unsure whether to post them :) x

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  4. Awesome and lovely work that provides a better idea to make things happen good specially when you are on the go to express your thoughts and feelings.

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  5. I've just come across this! I've just had to retire due to ill-health and so am in a state of flux! I don't really know who I am at the moment, but knitting is helping me to find a focus. Now I think I may need to embroider some thoughts for a wall-hanging. Not sure the husband will appreciate this, but that's part of my issue!

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    1. It sounds like you should listen to your inner voice and do what is right for YOU. So often we already know what we need (deep down), and ignoring this is what gives us a sense of inner conflict and dis-ease (in the true sense of not being at ease). I hope you are able to get into alignment soon, knitting will surely help!

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