Women All Suffer from Multiple-Voice Syndrome — don’t they??

Whenever you find yourself entangled among a group of women Creatives, you will inevitably fall into the hunt for one’s voice and a room in which to express it.  Finding the room, of course, may prove the easier of the two. 


In her essay, A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN, Virginia Woolf writes, “…a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”; or write anything really. Actually, she would need a room of her own to express herself in any artistic medium: writing, painting, drawing, singing, dancing. Woolf expressed this need back in 1929 and, yet, truly, today’s woman needs a room of her own to find her voice more than ever.


I struggle with voice. Most women do. Why? Because a woman navigates through the world with many voices: Daughter, Sister, Student, Wife, Sister-in-Law, Mother {“Don’t MAKE me use my Mommy voice!”}, Aunt, Friend, Coworker, Grandmother, as well as her Spiritual, Artist, and Writer voice. So when it comes to expressing our voice, even though we know we HAVE a voice, we can’t always define it succinctly. One rainbow, many colors.


“Words” may be “the voice of the heart,” as Confucius said, but are words necessarily always expressed in the same way?  As a writer, I paint a picture with a pen and through words; words that are used verbally in everyday speaking. My voice needs to rise and fall on paper the same way it moves about through any given day. No one of my days is governed entirely by any one voice.


And what of the inner voice? That voice which runs like an undercurrent just beneath what I’m actually saying. Or the instinctive voice that is constantly running behind the surface and inner voice, like computer code algorithms, overriding all of the above voices at a moment’s notice?


Have you ever visualized Hemingway as anything BUT a writer? Have you ever visualized Picasso as anything BUT an Artist? Probably not. Yet, when we visualize Sylvia Plath we first see a woman, then a poet, a wife, and a mother. When we visualize Frida Kahlo, do we ever see her, and her work, without also acknowledging her relationship with muralist Diego Rivera? Probably, but not for long.


Male writers and artists, it would seem, can and do use one voice to govern each and every one of their days. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their talents and works immensely. However, while their work may be multi-faceted, the voice that sustained their lives {and the relationships formed in it}, nonetheless seems very one-dimensional compared to those of women writers and artists.


Find your room — anywhere is okay.

I joke when people ask me how I am. I usually answer, “I’m fine, but I don’t know about my other 26 personalities.” Surely, the voice(s) I battle with the most are “older” mother and “perpetual” student. Those two voices have a way of seeping through and overcoming my other ones. I’ll start off writing something I intended to make whimsy-filled and interesting, only to have it morph into a matronly diatribe, or laden with research, oh.so.subtly.


As Jonathan Rée states in his book, I SEE A VOICE  : “Of all the joys of the anticipated voice that are treasured – none will be more highly prized than its infinite capacity for rhythm – for patterns of stress and timing that are characteristic of any given language, but also serve to individualize its different speakers, and differentiate its places and occasions.”

Sorting through the voices in one’s head, is a journey towards finding one’s authentic, true, and pure voice.

While I continue to connect with many wonderfully talented women on the stops I’ve made here and there on this quest to find my voice {Liv Lane’s, BUILD A BLOG YOU TRULY LOVE; Kelly Rae Robert’s, FLYING LESSONS; and Susannah Conway’s, UNRAVELLING}, I’ve still one more stop to make. In January, I will be venturing to a place I’ve been away from too long — visual art — as I begin Tamara Laporte’s {Willowing Arts} ecourse, LIFE BOOK 2013. 

So bear with me, kindred souls, as I, too, muddle through to find my unwavering and faithful voice on this blog journey. There may be times along the way where you’ll ask, “Okay, WHERE did she go to this time?” – as I’ve seemingly wandered off my voice’s natural path.  I’ll find my way back. I promise.


  1. Robin, another lovely and inspiring post. 🙂 You are going to love Life Book. I’m doing 2012 and just signed up for 2013. So glad to have a fellow flyer and unraveller on the journey. Hugs! Wendy

    • How awesome to be connected with a colleague who has taken not one — but TWO of the same creative and inspiring ecourses! Cheers, friendly flyer!

  2. Finding my voice is a big part of doing art for me. I always thought I’m having a hard time because I keep trying different mediums but maybe it’s because I have multiple-voice synbdrome?? Maybe I have more than one voice and I just have to run with the loudest or most insistant one that calls out that day and just let it sing?? Worth exploring. Great post. You really have me thinking Robin.

  3. Robin,
    Your post was right on! You were able to bring to light some of those thoughts that have been mulling around in this head of mine. I seem to have a hard time finding my “voice” in my paintings. I dabble here, go there, try this , then that. Although I love the experimentation, I also want to be known for a particular “voice”. Perhaps I need to listen more! Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  4. I loved reading your post Robin! The pictures and words were perfect and very thought provoking. There are many voices in head all the time! Thanks for your awesome reflection.

  5. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautiful post Robin. Finding my voice became my “modus operandi” after becoming ill. My “teacher” voice, my means of expressing myself, was no longer an option. It led me down the creative path and I’ve never looked back. Your post today helped me understand the many different voices I have and how my recent journey has been about aligning them with my deepest authenticity. I don’t find it very easy but it is rewarding. Em

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