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Repost - A Woman's voice

This is one I wrote a few months ago and posted in the VOF Lounge area and am just posting it here to get it into my journal. It would fall between entries of mine called 'So American' and "Alaskan Natives Need Your Help" in order of writing them in case anyone like seeing progression of ideas or whatever...


A Woman's Voice

United Statesby Maria de Chirikof | March 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM

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.


Tina's picture

You were meant to be a writer

Roar or not, your voice is just as powerful and mighty as any Lion. As you say: 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.

I don't believe we need to be lions to speak loudly enough to be heard. Each of us has different voices and different levels of volume, just as we have different comfort zones. It doesn't make us any less powerful. We all have a place and our own story to tell. Each of us has something valuable to bring to the table.

I continue to enjoy your writing, your wise insights and now, on another post, your poetry too.

Maria de Chirikof's picture


I think it is really great reading the posts of woman and hearing them express themselves and thinking how great it feels for them to finally feel like they are being heard. Just doing this much will really help change things, I think. Where we first learn to speak up then learn to listen and understand when someone else if learning how to too.

And what is great as well is it does not matter about her voice as much as her learning to "use it" since we often prefer our own style of talking or what we are used to so someone who is different you might try to change into one more like yours. Freedom is great and not many places do offer us this freedom to explore and try out differing volumes I guess is the word.

It is funny since I probably would not have posted it at all if it was not the middle of the night since I often think my poems that are not too personal are not so good as the ones I would not share. But this one I wrote with a specific feeling in mind but then again it changed as I was writing it too. Trying to take all the feelings from previous journals and put them into a set of haikus but not quite achieving it would have made me say 'no way' but it was late and quiet and I felt like I could pretend I was half asleep if I came back the next morning and everyone was saying how bad it was! Do you ever have that worry? It is lessening more and more though, which is great but sometimes when I am unsure I want to just delete the post entirely instead of taking a risk. But here we do support that sort of thing so thought "go for it!"

I love your posts too! I think it is always interesting since it always shows how woman are not so different and that is always great for building bridges and support and love for each other.


LauraB's picture


I sit here my computer in my office looking out the window- herb garden in the patio, airplane overhead, the Portland light is somewhat grey. Rather than reading, it's really listening---your voice on Pulsewire engages members.
It's been powerful for you, this experience on Pulsewire, it's like you were meant for it and it for you.

I will be thinking what does it mean for a woman to find her voice...what is its unique pitch, volume, cadence. Sometimes, Maria my voice sounds clear, direct, deep. Other times, like your Snow Leopard, a roar just isn't the sound I make.

What is clear in your writing and on Pulsewire is that all voices are heard and respected.
I love that.

I always enjoy reading your posts.

Maria de Chirikof's picture

meant for each other

I had to smile at that since I know a lot of woman do feel as if it was created with just us mind! And it actually was in a way so we are all feeling like we have a place that is "real" and we can explore our thoughts and try to find solutions together. I hope what all woman take away with them is that they can have many moods and explore their own voice and not worry they have to do it only one way since we supported an idea a lot.

Where we do so many different things in our daily lives and can have many moods so our voice can and should reflect this as well.

Thanks for taking an interest in my journal! It makes me happy that others can feel what I am trying to express, as one friend to another.



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