I sometimes find it hard to find a post I wanted to think about a bit then respond to. But it is what I love about being here in this community, how we learn to use our voice, tell our stories and help other woman find their own voices. One entry I had read was what did we think a woman's voice was and I was thinking of that often the last few days.

I think a woman's voice can be anything she is. I know that sounds weird but it came about from reading the posts on here. I can remember the first time I saw an old Chinese film that had been dubbed using voices that were American cowboy-ish, think John Wayne. It was a shock and a surprise since I was not expecting it. In later ones they spoke in a British accent. I always felt both were very wrong. I do not like this idea of imposing our voices onto theirs. I got that same sort of feeling reading some of the posts on here. I realize it was done for us who spoke only English to be able to watch and enjoy those Foreign movies. It was a way of sharing the story with us.

I really look forward to reading these woman's posts when they feel comfortable with using their own voice. It is always encouraging to see a woman struggle to find the words and the glow she has when she has found them. I think it is great seeing these woman learning how to put into words this new way of expressing themselves. I know I have been searching for a word that can describe that feeling I got sometimes where words like 'terror' doesn't quite describe that feeling in the pit of my stomach of 2 worms doing a tango with full bass booming. And this is a feeling I have gotten first when we were at the homeless shelter.

Just that feeling of being so overwhelmed by it and not seeing a way to get us out since I was also feeling 'depressed' where the whole world was just darkness and nothing existed in it that was real except for me and my daughters. I knew I would need to get a job to support us but how did I explain that there were no jobs in this vast blackness! I did not know words to describe that feeling to someone else. And I have always loved words and writing so even if I could not have spoken it right then I would have written it down so I could practice putting it into words. But I could not even do that since the beauty of words did not exist for me right then either. I can remember how some people felt a bit frustrated when I seemed to not responding how they wanted me to. Each time I tried to search for the right words I would find myself in that vast blackness where no words dwell.

I am lucky that this was a short lived time for me but it was real as it happened. I can remember one other native lady who seemed to just sit there with no words forming. This was at a place specifically for helping Alaskan Native woman. The lady was white and had experience with domestic violence but had no idea what it was like to be a Native. Systematic oppression where everywhere you look you are being told how 'disgusting' your culture is and you along with it is very different then just having a 'hard time' once. Because I had also lived with a lifetime of prejudice just because of my culture and how that feeling of being 'worthless' did a lot of damage to your self esteem I could understand her where the other could not though she wanted to. We looked at each other and understood each other without words needing to be spoken. We should always remember how we are all a bit different and where some of us the words come easier not to forget about the ones struggling to find her words, her voice. Some are very strong in this way so we should not worry if it takes us a bit longer to find our own voices.

So no matter if your voice is a gentle whisper, a rushing wind, a musical flute, a beating drum or an electric guitar type I look forward to you finding yours! I love the woman here who are so encouraging and write such great articles to help us find our words. Each of us has as many moods as we have roles we play so it naturally follows that our voice has all this and more in it.

One thing I thought was funny, again when I was learning more about the Snow Leopard animal spirit, was that it is a cat that can not roar like other big cats. It was something that used to make me feel bad about myself that I never wanted 'to roar' since it never made me feel comfortable. I think it is a great lesson when we learn to accept ourselves as we are and not feel bad that we can not transform into somethings others want us to be. It is one of the lessons that Snow Leopard teaches, about self reliance. To trust that I can trust my inner self and who I am though it is something I am still learning to do. I love that we have a place where we can share all of this with the view that we can change the world for the better.

I was reading one where the lady used the words marginalized and I look forward to reading her future posts. I know this is not her labeling herself as something but her describing for us where she is coming from. Like the first time I heard a dubbed voice and was surprised about it but loved the movie, I look forward to seeing where she wants to go and hearing her story.

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Hi Maria,

I just read your post and truly enjoyed it.

I especially liked how you concluded your thoughts with the example of the cat that cannot roar like the other big cats. Some people assume that to have character is to impose oneself; one's ideas and one's voice. I wouldn't want to seem biased, but if you feel uncomfortable roaring, then your company would certainly be more pleasant than the company of those who consider it a ''strong personality-trait'' to impose their voices despite everybody else.

Arda

Maria,

Thank you so much for sharing your voice with the PulseWire community. Your post is one that should ideally be read by all women; while some of us like to "roar", there are just as many of us who express ourselves in subtler ways. Who amongst us has the authority to determine that a traditionally loud voice is more worth listening to than one that gently whispers...

I am reminded of leadership training I have partaken in, where the question is often raised: how do you communicate with those individuals who are not typically outgoing or comfortable in the spotlight? This really isn't a question at all, but more of a thought that is up for interpretation.

There is no prototype for what a "leader" should be. Yes, there are many leaders who are gregarious, extroverted, and free with their opinions and ideas, but so too exist those who lead strongly and silently, and those who are strong and silent themselves may relate better with these kinds of leaders.

This is why we have collectively gathered here in this community. Our voices are so varied, and we will reach out to one other in very different but important ways. Your voice, Maria, while it may not roar, is strong and affecting, because it is true to who you are.

Warmly,

Jackie