I tried to take over the world once.
But no one could hear me.
In my head, I sound like an angry Hun when I talk. I purposefully turn my volume down so as not to annoy or intimidate people. The last thing I want is to be inappropriate and obnoxious. But then I hear people describe me as “a quiet girl” or “soft-spoken” and I am confused. I’ve even been told that it “sounds cute when I cuss” which just made me want to curse that much more.
I suppose that the hushed tone of my voice has plagued me forever. I never felt that quiet though, I just prioritized listening while other people were talking and tried not to be redundant when I spoke.
There was only one teacher I truly hated in grade school and during parent-teacher conferences one year, she told my mom that I talked too much in class. After we left my mom whispered to me “You’re right, she is an idiot.”
It wasn’t until I reached my freshman year of college that I realize how crippling a naturally quiet voice can be. Orientation is a competition of conversation, with everyone trying to make fast friendships and establish their personality. On top of that, sorority recruitment was an entire weekend of shouting over the discussions of other shouting women. My voice completely gave out.
If you were to ask my closest friends if they would describe me as a quiet or shy person, they would laugh right in your face. Unintentional as it is, this is the first impression that I give off, especially to people in positions of authority like professors or upperclassmen.
My gentle voice is not the only reason why I’m described as quiet, I think it is also because I naturally ask a lot of questions. I’ve never been good at talking about myself for long periods of time. I already know what I did all day and how I feel, I want to know what other people have been up to.
I guess this puts me in a good place to be a journalist. I am a good listener and I always have follow-up questions. However, journalists also have to be assertive, strong in character and sometimes downright pushy.
I am working on this. I try to remember that my voice is a lot softer and higher than it sounds in my mind. I have a radio show that pressures me to project my thoughts in a one-sided dialogue.
I have high aspirations for the journalism world and life in general but it’s pretty hard to enforce world domination if no one can hear you.