As a child my worst fear was having to introduce myself when meeting someone for the first time. My name always hung on my tongue and wrapped itself all the way down my throat. That suffocation of words, of ideas, of expression continued into adulthood. Most would never know the inner work of a person who suffers with stuttering. How a spoken word artist, a presenter, an educator, and a facilitator can struggle to speak is sometimes a mystery to many. More importantly, it is only until recently I truly understood the impact of not being able to say my own name as child on my life as an artist.
As I’m deepening my understanding of the energy centres in our body I see that the inability to give sound to my name is wrapped up in my lack of belief that my voice was and is necessary. As an artist this manifests itself in the struggle to see my work as having a place in the collective discourse and to be true to pursuing and sharing my craft whether it is well received or not. The strokes of the brush, the clicking of the keys that create ribbons of images in text, the sound of my voice lifting and pushing against air and tongue – all declarations of my belief in the necessity of my voice. The necessity of creating and sustaining my own vibrational frequency.
Trusting that my body and soul was created with a path that is truly mine to explore for its own sake is my attempt at seeing that my voice is necessary. Necessary for my survival and for my thriving – but also necessary for the collective good. Our desire to express ourselves through art is really an attempt to connect to the rest of humanity. Expression is about speaking our truths that ultimately creates a connection to all other truth bearers.
My voice has found freedom in my courage to express what occupies my experiences and my longing to connect with others on a level that creates intimacy. Through my art I draw others into an intimate embrace where they are offered the freedom to also unfold into their own expression. In time I have not only learned to say my name with each breath, but I have learned to say it over and over again with colour, with shape, with lines while watching the vibrations move through and beyond me. Ultimately prompting me to take up space and sound.