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Voice

I lost my voice.
At 13 it disappeared
in front of 300 peers
my speech dissolved to nothing.
Mortified I wish to say something.
Silent I stood in front of the whole school
When words returned jumbled
I spoke like a fool… a mess
I never was voted captain I must confess.

Fast forward 29 years…
A candidate in my training class
wanted to perform his poem in front of us
There is going to be a scream in the poem
I asked him to warn the receptionist.
On the edge of our seats we sat in anticipation
of the words and the scream inside the poem.
He stood up to perform his poem and let out
a mighty, guttural scream like a wounded animal
for over 2 minutes (it seemed an eternity).
The office including the boss rushed to my defence
“Are you alright?” They whispered through the glass
Stunned I gasped " It’s ok it’s just performance art"

I debriefed the 15 fringe dwellers – animated
and fired up in unison they declared
“This is the best training class we have ever had”
They connected in the three week training and beyond
It seemed the poets scream had created a bond as it
had been the voice of their collective internal landscape.
His voice left an indelible mark of trauma on my psyche
and made me look at voice through new eyes.

Voice and loss of voice has been a central theme in my life
Between 0 to 8 my voice was strong fed by the unconditional
love of my father I was encouraged to speak.
I remember connecting with teenagers and young adults 2 and 3 times my age.
When my dad died my voice disappeared,
my mother remarried and went under a new regime.
I struggled for the next 8 years to find my voice.
In class with a whirlpool of creative thoughts swirling
around my head, I froze and words got stuck when my
English teacher asked me to share. Mute again locked inside.

I found my voice momentarily when the boys teased that Van Gogh
was insane. I defended his sanity with passion and the words somehow
found their way up my throat, through my mouth.
Through writing and art I defended my sanity and sensitivity through
8 years of psychological abuse.

Through these years voice and no voice wafted in and out of my life.

Voice is deeply effected by pain:
Undermined voices stutters and splutters
Not seen it is silenced
Ridiculed it screams inside
Ignored it chocks in the throat.

Voice responds to positive attention:
Seen voice whispers its truth
Approved it grows more articulate
Appreciated it sounds resolute
Empowered it is confident and inspiring.

Voice is the barometer of our inner health and our
connection to the world that surrounds us.

Constructive criticism spoken gently
can be received easier then words
shouted in cold criticism.
Dulcet tones, exotic accents
can allure and seduce.
Words spoken with intelligence and consideration
can educate and inspire greatness.
Words said with kindness
can heal cultures and build bridges.
Cruel words can shatter and destroy life’s.
Repeated words can manipulate vulnerable minds.
Sometime silence can speak more from an open mind
then words with cruel intent said by a closed mind.

A group ganging up against the individual
can silence voice.
Chauvinism in some cultures can delete
women and other voices.
Painfully shy people find hard to speak.
Grief can delete voice and immobilize
the body and mind.
Sexism, prejudice, intolerance, bullying, misplaced
power are the enemies of voice and
can remove speech and sound in their oppression.
Fear destroys voice a little every day.
Unkindness, oppressive power, toxic work
environments can erase voice.
Rejection can silence a confident person.

Thinking from a creative mind can be dangerous.
Voice can inspire great change.
A still clear voice spoken with wisdom can shift paradigms.
A knowing voice can invite other minds into news ways of seeing and being.
Voice can be whispered, spoken softly, shouted, screamed… Munch’s scream is an image that leaves a lasting impression on every viewer because he has painted the voice of pain with such intensity of honesty. When you look at the painting and you feel, you hear the scream, like I did in my training class on that memorable day.

Voice can be the vehicle of freedom.
We can speak our way to healing.
If we do not speak our truth we can become ill.
Words spoken with conviction from a thinking mind
can challenge and revolutionize.

After losing my voice in front of the school at 13,
I had an epiphany…that voice and communication was my life.
I had to overcome the fear and stage fright
and I pushed myself to speak publicly in order to eradicate
the pain of losing my voice. I spoke in Youth of the Year twice and lost my voice again in the impromptu speech. In my career I became a strategic executive presenting to boards, directors and peers.
Now as an adult educator I train and speak in front of people every day.

And with Disrupt, Insane or Wired or Brilliant, Diamond Core, Glamour…Trap,
Toxic, No is No and sensitive
I think my voice is back!

Anthea Slade 26 June 2010

Currently unavailable for purchase



Sensitivity & Sensuality Series
by Reynaldo & Anthea

Innocent Voice and Voice is the eleventh upload in our 22/22 (paintings/drawings/poems) Collaboration Sensitivity & Sensuality.

It is such joy and absolute delight to collaborate with Reynaldo, a beautiful man and magnificent artist and gifted painter on our third major collaboration Sensitivity & Sensuality.

Painting: Reynaldo
Poem: Anthea

Dimensions of Rey’s beautiful painting

acrylic and colored pencils on
140 watercolour paper

Creating art and writing is like breathing to me, it keeps me alive. If I stop creating my world shrinks and contracts. When I start to create again it expands and is filled with colour. I feel whole. To create is to be completely, unabashedly alive.

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Comments

  • Anthea  Slade
    Anthea Sladeover 4 years ago


    Innocent voice by Reynaldo

  • Reynaldo
    Reynaldoover 4 years ago

    Another great glimpse into your life and career dear Anthea…..written with the sensitive side of your person, but a strong piece of work into your beautiful heart and character Bravo dear xxx

  • Oh Rey thank you so much for this sensitive and beautiful response to my poem Voice. I truly appreciate your intelligent and tender words about my writing. Your words always touch me deeply and inspire me greatly. Your beautiful painting Innocent Voice is a perfect interpretation of my poem. Love this painting so much dear Rey. It is beautiful and sensitive. xxx

    – Anthea Slade

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 4 years ago

    Anthea this is a brilliamt work of truths and thoughts.your voice in this speaks loud and clear,.our voices have power way beyond the words,this touches our minds and makes us aware .wonderful work a fav for sure.Rey,s painting the look of about to speak a perfect combining once again !!!love this LIZ))))

  • Liz thank you so much for your sensitive thoughtful response to my poem Voice. I always enjoy your insights Liz and look forward to your wonderful comments.

    – Anthea Slade

  • tim norman
    tim normanover 4 years ago

    Well Anthea that is without doubt the most intelligent and thought provoking sets of observations and understanding of “what voice means”, be it the best thing i have read to date. I funnily wrote a piece called soothing voices a few days ago….regardless ..well i could not read out loud from texted books at school..the words moved..people laughed and i used to twitch terrified!..taking parts in literature awww..horror!

    I defeated this somehow later by finding my verbal articulation, witt and repartit to somehow.. sparing my social blushes.. into some form of confidence ha! in response to those who laughted!..To precise, pain does take your voice away and truth forms the voice…and as i am sure you know many neuro linguistic programmes..emphasis the imagination of the voice metaphor to improve the confidence and delivery of those who struggle with voice..kinda self empowerment blah blah thro’ imagery..

    Izzybeth and I were talking about the delivery of another’s voice and how one modifies your own to strentghten and support the feelings of one who’se voice is tentative, uncertian and unsure…How that tone comes through shapes our response to the words…brilliant Anthea….I would not be so bold as to say a similar experience but the essence of it i truly understand. An accomplished piece of writing dear Anthea! xoxo bravo….How you understand the senses…so poignantly..an excellent complete piece here xx

  • Wow Tim Norman what an amazing articulate sensitive response to my poem Voice. Your thoughts, insights, awareness displayed in this comment was a joy to read. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and considered response to my poem. Truly appreciate your intelligent feedback Tim.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Renate  Dartois
    Renate Dartoisover 4 years ago

    Dear Anthea I am once again blown away-your ability to write from the heart and your words reach deep inside because we all have been paralyzed by some self doubt unable to speak loose our voice or perform because of fear of failure and the teasing or harsh words of criticism that may follow. We are all programmed by life experiences especially during childhood and for some reason the negative seems to have a bigger hold on us then the positive input. However we can all learn to overcome and move forward life is a journey and we do have a choice on which road to travel…..

  • Oh dear Renate thank you for this so wise and senstive response to my poem Voice. Your responses are such an incredible joy to read always. Hope you are having a beautiful week.

    – Anthea Slade

  • JaneCSolomon
    JaneCSolomonover 4 years ago

    I love your understanding Anthea. xx

  • Thank you so much Jane for loving my understanding. xx

    – Anthea Slade

  • banrai
    banraiover 4 years ago

    mighty write Anthea

  • Banrai thank you so much for reading and writing this wonderful response to my poem Voice.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Rhonda Strickland
    Rhonda Stricklandover 4 years ago

    Wow… much to consider… well done.

  • Rhonda thank you so much.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Rikki Woods
    Rikki Woodsover 4 years ago

    I want to favor this 1,000,000 times! It should be a paper, a thesis of understanding. Oh, just so incredible!

  • Oh Rikki thank you so much for this so beautifl compliment. You make my heart smile with these words. Thank you for reading and responding to Voice

    – Anthea Slade

  • rubyjo
    rubyjoover 4 years ago

    my god I think your voice is loud and clear
    such a building of strength in that write, palpable really

  • Oh thank you so much Rubyjo for this beautiful comment and I am glad you feel that my voice is loud and clear. Your words mean so much to me.

    – Anthea Slade

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