My Voice

Growing up, I have always been hyper-aware of how I’ve carried myself at school, with friends, and around strangers. I’ve believed myself to be somewhat more mature, sophisticated and thoughtful than those my age, and, in an effort to avoid sounding pretentious, will admit that I’ve always considered this to be somewhat of a fault. While my inner world reflected a side more familiar of someone my age–full of wonder, imagination and curiosity–the way I interacted with the outside world was rarely as such. The maturity and cautiousness with which I carried myself became somewhat of an obstacle in connecting with others, as the pleasant disposition for which I became so well-known translated into a hesitancy to express myself fully and openly. In short, I feared the characteristics that defined me in the eyes of others were at risk of being compromised if I chose to express myself in a way that didn’t coincide with that particular image. While I firmly believe that my strong interest and passion for writing is a result of my desire to connect more with and express my inner world, I admit that my outward disposition has had more influence on my voice as a writer than the former.

Looking back through my past works of writing, I notice lengthy, thoughtful sentences, transitional phrases and intentional paragraphs as being key themes in my writing. The ways that thoughts are threaded together to shape the paragraphs of my essays are all very intentional, and leave little room for rogue thoughts or musings. The content I gravitate towards are pieces in which I can identify themes for which I hold a certain passion or concern, and generalize them to a larger population. While I start with a writing topic that holds special significance in my life, the end-product could seemingly be written by anyone, and I find that its application in my own life gets more and more distant with each and every paragraph. In other words, my intentions for personal expression within my writing are overpowered by the possibility that my words–and by extension, myself–will be misunderstood, and the resulting writing becomes further and further from my original intentions.

As I look more closely into my writing, perhaps the most interesting sentences, though rare, are the ones that seem to come out of nowhere, attempting to express a piece of my expressive personality despite the tower of formal phrases that surround them. These sentences include hints of descriptive imagery, in-depth analyses based in my personal values, outbursts of unique insight or even the surprising moment of sarcasm–moments that I truly cherish when/if they present themselves. In a metaphorical sense, these sentences represent my inner world making great lengths to be heard despite the contrasting nature of the way I outwardly present myself–in the form of the sentences that comprise the rest of the paragraph.

I do not wish to dismiss the sophistication of my writing voice as an inevitable product of my hesitancy to appear more candid, for I truly believe that this particular set of attributes has shaped my personality and perspectives through the years. I do, however, wish to explore my voice as a writer in order to not only uncover the aspects that better reflect my inner world, but to feel more comfortable in expressing them without hesitancy or shame. And, who knows, perhaps in doing so I will be better equipped to use the same strategies to more truly express myself in my daily life. I sincerely hope to use this semester as an opportunity to practice these forms of expression among other writers, and see that the phrases in my writing offering glimpses of my personality are given the spotlight they deserve.

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