My Vocal History: The Origin

May 4, 2022.

If my voice told you its history, she would tell you about all the times adults perceived child-her to be so very quiet. She would tell you how surprising that is given her velocity inside the temples of my mind and weight inside the depths of my stomach.

My voice would tell you, it was not the rec center youth theater plays or English Honors class presentations or Mock Trial Club events when she actually heard herself. That was just performance. Fodder. Production.

It was when my Dad asked her to reveal herself.

Sitting with my father and brother in a time of crisis. Modifying my body into the perception of my silent voice; slinking, hiding, invisibilizing. Dad directing a question at me, requesting my voice to enter The Room.

That is when my voice realized she had a tangible presence.

“I could speak fluently, but I could not reveal.”

Journey into Speech-A Writer Between Two Worlds: An Interview with Michelle Cliff (1994)

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