The voice – an instrument, the way we communicate, how we speak, what we say, how we interact with our community. What happens when we can’t speak? For me, a normal reaction is to pull back, avoid certain circumstances, avoid contact and perhaps somewhere deep inside question why social situations don’t work for me. Is it that introverted part of me?
But then, I’m also a singer. And the song is linked to my heart. So not being able to sing is devastating. That feeling of watching you passion take wings and fly off without you. A profound sense of hopelessness.
I’d like to challenge the thought pattern here, because our voice is more than our capability of making sound. We speak in silence also. Our actions, our choices in life, what we wear, who we spend time together with, our hobbies, and the list can go on.
In 2019 I lost my voice. Cold after cold and my coughing got worse, until it was an inherent part of me. I did see doctors, and it took two years until finally one doctor diagnosed me with asthma. For those of you who don’t know, asthma is a chronical inflammation in the lungs. It’s a broad diagnosis from what I understand, so many people can have asthma but with very different symptoms.
Now, those of you who know us, Nicko and me, might also remember that in 2019 we decided to make another Enchanted Duo album. Losing my voice at this point is highly impractical. But remember what I wrote before – the voice is more than making sounds. I had to do something for me during this time. I’m a very creative person and being idle just isn’t my cup of tea. So, I picked up a thread from the past – my writing. Not only did I pick it up, but I also started writing in English, which isn’t my native language. This because we were already making music for a global audience, so it didn’t make sense to write in Swedish. A lifeline while I was soul searching, wondering why I couldn’t get it together and sing.
Okay, so, coughing for two years, I could barely breathe. The muscles around my lungs were so weak, my breaths came out shallow, no strength at all, no support from my diaphragm. And to make matters worse, asthma medications impact the vocal cords and adds an element of unpredictability. Putting in the hard work to get my muscles back, didn’t solve the unpredictability – or the fact that in all this I forgot how to breathe. How can you even forget to breathe? This seems like such a fundamental part of the human body, and yet, apparently you can.
Gathering up my courage, I went to see a speech therapist, all the while feeling like ‘but I don’t have a stutter, am I not stealing someone else’s time here’. Turns out it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I got my voice back. I know there will always be limitations that I have to work around, but I feel like I have the tools to handle it. It won’t change the fact that my voice will never be loud enough to drown out a noisy restaurant, or that nerves tense up my voice. But I know how to avoid my voice from breaking when singing or speaking, I have relearnt to breathe correctly – doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes forget. And it doesn’t mean that I’m all of a sudden super confident about my voice – I’m still scared it will break in crucial situations.
I realise that it’s hard to explain what writing poetry and novels means to me, but it has been what kept me going when everything else seemed hopeless. It’s also an inspiration to write about characters challenging their struggles, like Siv, in my new book My Shy Dragon Wife. When reading it, observe how she’s using her voice and how it’s linked to her personal development.
We all have struggles; I like to focus on getting through them. I’m sharing this, not for you to feel sympathy, but for you to know that you’re not alone in struggling with something. And also, for those of you who struggle with your voice – there’s help available. You don’t have to be a singer or a professional speaker. Speech is such an important part of our culture and community. According to statistics a lot of people silently just bear their limitations thinking that nothing can be done about it.
So, here’s sending you a little strength and courage to do something about it 😊
Love, hope and fantasy tales,
Siv, an anxious soul with a past that still haunts her, leaves her Vanir people behind to find a fresh start in the Seventh Troll Kingdom. Adjusting to a life where she’s valued, not belittled, is challenging. Her quiet life at Alfrida’s cozy tavern is interrupted when Tyrgil, a determined man on a dangerous quest, strides into her world. What our shy heroine doesn’t expect is to be swept off her feet by the most enchanting man to ever waltz into the tavern.
Tyrgil, having left his farm under his brothers’ care, ventures into the Seventh Troll Kingdom on a quest from the Troll King himself to tackle a perilous beast issue. But when he meets Siv, he is thrown off course. His mother has been pestering him to find a wife, and honestly, he wouldn’t mind if only he could find someone kind-hearted who reciprocates his affections. Their growing connection is overshadowed by the mystery of the beast Tyrgil is hunting – a creature whose path strangely aligns with Siv’s.
My Shy Dragon Wife is the highly anticipated second book in the “My Dragon” series, written by bestselling author Anneli von Knorring. Follow their heartfelt journey filled with magical adventure and wholesome romance, accompanied by new enchanting characters. This story promises to whisk you away to a world of tender love and wonder.