I once hated my voice. I thought it was high pitched and, when excited, as annoying as a child’s squeal. It didn’t help matters that I was often compared to Rosie Perez. Her voice irritates millions of Americans, myself included. Is that how others feel about my tune?
The answer was and maybe still is yes.
I learned this in college while overhearing a group of boys. They sat in a dormroom, in front of a big screen television watching football. During a commercial, my name came up, as did my voice.
“Did you hear her screech?” Said a caramel-skinned fellow.
“Yeah, her voice…it’s like nails on chalk board,” a lanky frat boy replied.
My friend, who sat in between the circle, nodded. “I love Sujeiry but sometimes I wish she didn’t talk.”
They chuckled and continued watching the game. A touchdown was scored by their team. As they howled and rooted for the boys in green, I jolted down the hallway, upset and embarrassed.
Why couldn’t I have a seductive voice like Angelina Jolie? Why did I sound like a cartoon character on speed? If I had a choice, I thought, I’d switch my voice box. Maybe that way I wouldn’t sound like a 7-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old’s body.
Obviously, the switching of the voice box never took place. It probably be a painful procedure and an expensive one at that. I still live with my momma which shows how much money I have laying around for a new set of pipes. Besides, my voice distinguishes me from others. Though not as nasal and soprano as it was once, I embrace my difference. If I didn’t have this voice, people wouldn’t hear me from blocks away. I can’t count the times someone overhead me speak, turned around and said with a smile, “I thought that was you.”
Because my voice makes me uniquely me.
Now, I embrace my pipes. It makes me different. It makes me talented. The musical melody that booms from my mouth is all my own and because of this I sing beautifully. Because of it I have a great radio voice. And, though I would never be able to be a sex phone operator, I know this voice will make me a star in another capacity.
So, I will continue speaking and expressing myself, even if it’s as annoying as a child’s squeal. God gave me this voice. It is a gift that cannot be hated.