Perhaps one day I will have a voice, but for now I have voices. They are all mine.
There are times when I write as a little girl with strong opinions who is still learning to use her mouth to form the right words.
“I fink fings ought to be done different.”
“And den dey said fings, and den I got mad.”
This is mostly a private practice, but it allows me to express feelings in a creative way. It allows me to have a slightly different point of view that is still authentic but easier to express.
I actually started doing this at a time when I felt I had lost my voice altogether. My sense of self felt a lot like the holographic messages from Princess Leia on Star Wars, flickering in and out. Then I magically became a little girl and it was okay to be upset out of my mind that the boy knocked my legos down and said mean things to my dolls. It was okay to talk about those feelings too. Acceptance was the beginning of finding my voice.
I’m empathic, I communicated using other people’s voices to find my own voice—a shorter and longer term process. Short term in that I could manage to carry on a conversation and learn about myself as I responded to the other person, mostly what I thought they wanted to hear, and even that wasn’t entirely dishonest because I do like to put myself in your shoes and see how I might like that too. Long term in that as I observed myself and how I spoke or wrote to others and saw how they responded and how I felt about it, I found those things that were truly me. My voice started to return.
I began finding my voice by writing emails in 2011 to my fans and online friends. I received amazing responses of all kinds. I saw how my voice started to resurface in response.
At the end of 2011 I began tweeting, but as 2012 rolled around I was tweeting like a mad woman. I was a mad woman. I had suppressed my voice for so long and the first wave came crashing on the shores of Twitter. At least that’s how it felt. I was going through a separation and I felt I had exhausted the patience of everyone I knew and I also wanted to get back to work but I had so much to say and I felt like a different person every minute sometimes as I looked for ways to cope. I needed a way to share my feelings that would be constructive, and not weigh any single person down. I wanted feedback too so I could learn about myself and what was happening to me. Honest feedback.
When I tried to write notes or emails expressing myself it was a torrent of information. Who was going to read all that? Twitter was perfect because I had to find ways to sum up my screaming voice in 140 characters and hope that people would respond. I started to see some of the different voices I had. It was almost like the people or cultures I had been exposed to, coming to the surface in my voice—my thoughts but their language. Mostly. People responded, all kinds, and there was engagement, compassion, kindness—and also other things. I learned from all of it. It was humbling and empowering. I kept emailing too.
I think it was close to the end of spring in 2012 that I started my blog. I wrote about food and shared some funny things online. I had worked as a web developer before but had all but forgotten how to create web sites at all much less code. Everything I create is my voice—I see it all as art. Even the disjointed pieces, I present with heart. The simple act of setting up a blog would help my voice.
I let go of trying to have one voice. I embraced the fact that sometimes my voice is soft, gentle, submissive. Other times my voice is strong and vulnerable. Sometimes I am ridiculous and hilarious. Other times poignant and poetic. Sometimes diplomatic, sometimes provocative. Sometimes I am verbose, other times I am brief. I like to mix it up, but at the heart I’m me.
I have YouTube videos where I talk like a little girl. I’ve written blogs about being submissive and dominant or about how we’re all beautiful whores in some way. I like the range. I’m at home there.
One voice or several, they’re all me. I’m not even sure at this point if I want to have one voice. What would I do without occasionally being Keiko “Cupcake” Mulligan or Ms Mulligan, kind but stern. Or Kiki. Or Keikster. Or K. Mulligans. Mistress. Each voice has its own nuances, and as a fantasy woman, I do create a voice for the occasion. I love it. It’s still authentic. It’s still me. It’s something I make especially for someone.
Maybe one day I’ll have a voice. Or maybe I already do, and I see the voices within that voice as separate when really they’re all together.
I think once people get to know me, they know that it’s me behind the voice. So maybe I have a voice, and she just likes to express herself in different ways.
Or in the words of Cupcake Mulligan, “I fink I has a voice, daddy. Maybe free or four of dem even.”