Having been raised a Catholic I am of course not anti believing in miracles. Things can happen for which there is absolutely no explanation. Not that I have ever experienced one myself and like many others I am quick to say ‘Oh that’s a miracle.’
Let’s have a quick look at a rough Wikipedia definition of the word:
A miracle is an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural especially divine agency. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature.
The word miracle is often used to characterise any beneficial event that is statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature, such as surviving a natural disaster, or simply a wonderful occurrence, regardless of likelihood. Other miracles might be: survival of an illness diagnosed as terminal, escaping a life-threatening situation or beating the odds. Some coincidences may be seen as miracles.
The chosen title for this blog sounds rather negative. Those were the words used by my speech therapist at her last session: ‘Don’t expect miracles, it will lead to failure’.
What she meant was: ‘Don’t expect your voice to miraculously change as this will be putting far too much pressure onto yourself, leading to unnecessary tension and your voice ultimately sounding worse that before’.
Great outlook isn’t it? Aim high but think low. This is where frustration comes in massively, which I in turn desperately have to try and harness. I can hear scraps of my voice during my exercises. Tiny, faint sounds that are trying their hardest to come out and with immense concentration I can even phonate to a degree. My problem is that I then go and expect too much of it.
Why is this wonderful little bit of voice not brave enough to stick around when I do really need it? My supraglottic cords have been so dominant these last ten years that my subglottic cords probably feel extremely intimidated by their brashness. All the while negative and pressuring external influences are working in favour of this brashness, making matters worse. Add a bit of miracle expectation into the equation and what do you get? A croaking that has been my defining trademark like, forever. At least that’s what it feels like.
So, what to do? First of all, don’t expect miracles! As much as I would love this to be a quick fix thing, I have to keep reminding myself that this is an endurance race and not a 100 metre sprint. I have to be patient (those who know me well are now laughing I am sure, as patience has never been that great of a virtue of mine, but I am trying). I have to keep reminding myself every day that I am taking baby steps here.
Next it’s practice practice practice. There is a big catch however. It is called embarrassment. I feel so silly doing all this ooooooooh-ing and aaaaaaaaaaah-ing and eeeeeeeeeee-ing when I am by myself, let alone with the risk of having someone actually hear me do it. And I honestly do not know why. Those around me know of my problems and that it is a necessary evil. Why can’t I just look beyond that mental road block? I really have to work harder on that one.
Last, but certainly not least is: Chill. Reduce stress. Tension. Try and find a “zen me“. Erm, beg your pardon: Where??? How??? Changing external stress, though difficult, is far easier than changing characteristics about yourself.
Yes, I very openly admit here now (after nearly 33 years of personal contemplation – and therapy) that I am a person needing to control every little aspect of her life – come what may. Someone who has insanely high personal standards with things she does, be it that they are realisable or not. I can’t sit still, not for long anyway. The concept of sitting there and doing nothing is so alien to me I wouldn’t even know where to integrate it into my life properly. I always feel I am being lazy and I don’t like that feeling. I am trying though, even if it is something as silly as having a cup of tea at the table reading a page or two in a book, greatly ignoring the call of something that has to be sorted out.
Ok, ok, so I do give in to the calling quite quickly but even here it is baby steps. I just have to keep walking.
I am resigning myself to the fact that the vocal cord surgery is inevitable. Not because I am seeing it as a possible quick fix solution. If it were just that I would have had it done ages ago. After six weeks of speech therapy and exercises I can safely say (and with the assessment of my speech therapist) that this alone is not going to do it. My voice has been through too much in the last ten years. But hey, to use the Guru’s words: ‘Compared to what I have been through, it will be a walk in the park’. I am in a good place right now. I am where I need to be. And this too will get sorted. Even if it isn’t because of a miracle. But, perhaps the actual miracle was being introduced to the experts I am now seeing for this, who seem to be leading me to the end of it all…