Taking New Risks: The Sound of My Voice

This week I did something I’ve never done before; I recorded the Preface and Epilogue of my memoir for an audio book. I’m comfortable with public speaking, but recording in my friend, Melanie’s studio was different. Unlike the speaking I’ve done, this recording will live on, captured in audio files for people who aren’t in front of me. In the past, when I’ve heard my voice on a recording, I’d say to myself, “That doesn’t sound like me,”  (I thought it sounded like my cousin, but I won’t say which one!)

Melanie’s husband, Jeff, who worked at the controls and is a veteran sound editor, told me that nobody likes to hear their voice recorded. I didn’t give him my particular defense of why I have felt self-conscious, about the comments people have made about my Southern accent (see post-Southern Drawl). Even with feeling on edge, part of me wishing I didn’t need to do the recording, I relaxed some knowing that I was in the company of friends. I’ve known Melanie for over twenty years and when I’ve been around Jeff, he has a quiet kindness that puts me at ease.

Melanie’s a voice over-talent and the leader of our Triangle Writers Group. I’m delighted that she’s doing the narration of my memoir, He Heard My Voice. She’s been with me through the life-changing events described in my book and has critiqued every chapter. I feel so fortunate to have my talented friend work with me on this project and I didn’t want to disappoint her with my performance.

Before I started recording, Melanie helped me to understand the set up– where I’d stand, how I’d pause between pages, directions she’d give me from behind the door. There was baffling, or materials to deflect extranous noises in my recording area: foam where I spoke into the microphone, curtains and rugs on the walls and floor. All of this was new for me but everyday for Melanie.

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We worked our way through my recording in the hour that we’d scheduled. I felt satisfied when I left that I’d done my best. I remembered back to my solo journey to Iona, Scotland. There, I’d vowed to let go of some of my self-consciousness in order to move forward and be all I was created to be.

Our retreat leader had stood with us on the shore of Iona Sound and directed us to pick a rock that represented a weight we carried. After considering the burden of what we carried, we were to throw it into the water. My burden had been my self-consciousness, my perfectionism and I remember the “thunk” of my rock hitting the water. Soon after that, I had the opportunity to test out my new self and it had to do with not worrying about how I looked or sounded. (see post- Things You Leave Behind)

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Iona Sound where I’d left that rock

Now, I think that I’m making progress by letting go, following through with the audio recording in spite of my discomfort.

The point of me reading the Preface and Epilogue is to introduce my readers/listeners to my Southern voice, while Melanie’s trained voice does the majority of the work. I practiced before our recording session and decided to share with you a portion of the Preface.

Since I’m letting go of my self-consciousness, I’m not going to worry that this was done after a day of keeping my grandson, when like the recording of me at Iona, I hadn’t had time to “brush my hair or freshen up.”

I’m taking a risk, putting it out there, and praying in this–as in all things, that God will bless my efforts and the desires of my heart. May it be so for you, too!

 

 

How About You?

What do you need to let go of in order to be all you were created to be?

What risk do you need to take?

Referenced posts:

Things You Leave Behind

Southern Drawl

Free to Be Me

During the week in which we celebrated our country’s independence, our freedom, I think about what it means to be free as an individual– not to say and do things that hurt others, but to be my unique self. It seems that much of my ability to just be me has been limited by my self-consciousness, my over concern with how I appear to others. I’ve lived with too much fear of ‘doing things wrong,’ as if there is some standard of doing things right that I’m being judged by.

Now, at 63 years old, I’m learning to let go of those things that have bound me. In my part-time position as a research nurse, I’m working with a group of staff who are mostly forty-and-under, employment counselors, none of them nurses. They have a much more relaxed view of work than what I’ve been accustomed to as a professional nurse for the last forty years. There  are some things they can learn from me, but overall, I think now we live in a different time and I need to change to adapt to my new working environment. I can learn from these ‘young people’ who would probably tell me to, “lighten up.”

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Even in the writing community, through speakers at conferences and on podcasts, their sage advice is to remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about your readers.” At first I thought, “What? I’m doing all the work of getting things onto the page. It’s not about me, my story?” But later, as I considered myself as a reader, when I’m engrossed in a good book, I’m applying my perception to that story, my interpretation of everything I read is through the lens of my life, not the author’s. I also consider that if I keep this in mind, I can let go of some of my worry with writing the perfect post or chapter. Instead, with each time I sit at my computer, I can think of you and before I start writing I pray that through the muse that God’s given me, I’ll construct something that will speak to you. It helps me to be free of the burden of outcomes.

This morning when I walked, it was cool and raining and reminded me of my solo journey last September to Iona, Scotland. There I lived in a faith community at the Abbey for a week. The night before I was to check in, I stayed at a B & B across the sound from Iona. That Saturday morning, watching the ferry approach, I was suddenly gripped by fear, by not feeling ‘good enough.’  I said to myself, “Who am I to go to this international pilgrimage site?” Surely those I’d join would be more theologically educated, more international, more of something. I thought of my small-town-roots, my Southern accent, my tendency to hang back, my fear of the spotlight being thrust on me.

As the ferry workers motioned for us to approach the boat, the answer came, what felt like God’s still small voice speaking to me.

You are my child and that is enough.”

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I walked forward, feeling awkward but assured that I was at the place I should be.  Throughout that week, with seekers from all over the world, I continued to feel assured, through my interactions with individuals and in our group discussions, that I was where I should be.

On Tuesday during our group pilgrimage across the island, we stopped at the bay and threw a rock into the water to symbolize what we were leaving behind. Now that I reread that post from Dec. 31, I see that it was a step in letting go to be free, that I’m revisiting at the half-way point of this year. It is a process. After that rock was flung into the bay, I was interviewed on camera that was a first step of letting go of what others’ thought of me.

 

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Pilgrimage across Iona to the most noted sites

When I go back to my pictures of that journey, I see a video that I made while riding on the ferry from Oban to the Inner Hebrides. I’d planned to do videoblogs through the trip, but partly due to time and being in a new place, and perhaps due to my discomfort, I never posted them.

Now, as an act of being free, able to let go of my hesitation and concerns, I’ll share a video on my Author Facebook Page– Saved by Sedona since I haven’t learned to embed videos on WordPress. The video reminds me of that excitement of anticipation, wondering what lay ahead during my week at the Abbey.

It reminds me that I am Free to Be Me.

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The Tall Cross of Iona, See post “Packing Grandma for Pilgrimage” Aug. 27, 2017

Post for Dec. 31, 2017  “The Things We Leave Behind” located at

https://wordpress.com/post/connierosserriddle.wordpress.com/4444

How About You?

What do you need to let go of in order to be Free to be You?

What step can you take to move forward in that process?