18 Apr

One thing I only realized very recently that I have dysphoria about is my voice. I am a homebody, only talk on the phone to about five people and now live full-time with two of them, and if I had to do public speaking for a living I’d be dead from a heart attack by now. So I don’t often have the occasion to hear my own voice.

When I am having an especially terrible bout of heightened awareness about my dysphoria, I tend to feel that I’m disgusting. I don’t want to see anyone or touch anyone. I remember once having to hug someone when I was feeling this way and trying so hard to communicate that I felt too gross to touch them — that I thought that a disgusting blob like me shouldn’t be touching them.

But unfortunately, hugging is seen as a gesture that makes people feel better, so the harder I tried to get out of it, the more they insisted it was just what I needed. And there was part of me that was worried they would think I thought they were disgusting, which wasn’t the case. So I hugged them. Then I ran back to my room and hid under my blankets for a while, tucked up to my chin so I couldn’t see myself.

It’s just been recently that I’ve realized I also don’t want to talk to anyone when I’m feeling this way. Because my voice is very feminine. I have a doll’s voice. I could voice a talking doll. When I’m feeling particularly awful about myself, I don’t want to be reminded of what I hate, and I can’t tuck my blanket up over my vocal cords. I don’t want anyone else to be reminded of it, either.

For a while I thought maybe it was a dumb thing to worry about. I guess what I’m still getting used to is not that there’s an endless series of things for me to feel badly about, but that, when I’m feeling surprised I’ve found another thing to dislike, it’s because I have the right to think of my body as a non-binary extension of my non-binary self. And even though my voice is feminine, it’s not female.

Side note: it’s ridiculous how accomplished I feel when I write a post that’s under 500 words. A product of taking two years of journalism classes.


9 Responses to “Voice”

  1. maddox April 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM #

    My voice is also not the “low sexy female” voice I’d like to have – you know, not quite male but low enough to be ambiguous. Let’s put it this way: the song I sing best in Rockband is by Blondie…
    Also voices are very different in person than on the phone or on a recorded device.

    • ace eccentric April 18, 2011 at 8:51 PM #

      For some reason the moniker “low sexy female” cracked me up. It’s been a long time since Chorus in middle school, but I was an alto.

      I wish I could hear my voice outside my head without having to hear a recording of it. To my ears, the difference is ridiculous.

  2. Meike April 18, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

    It’s not silly at all to worry about this! I feel the same way, and I actually just “came out” to my corrective phonetics teacher today because I figured me dealing with my occasional “voice dysphoria” might have an impact on my pronounciation of my second language. I agree with everything you’ve said. It’s certainly…interesting (on better days) figuring out all this non-binary voice stuff. Hang in there!

    • ace eccentric April 18, 2011 at 8:59 PM #

      Thank you. I hope your teacher was nice to you. My girlfriend has linked me to a few books that are supposed to teach you how to adjust your voice, but I haven’t had time to look at them yet. I guess we will both see what we can do :)

      • Meike April 19, 2011 at 3:14 AM #

        Ooh, let me know how those books go! I want to try looking into that sort of thing, myself. If you say they work well then I’ll have to look them up.

        • ace eccentric April 19, 2011 at 10:36 AM #

          I will! I’m hoping my library will end up having one of them, maybe an earlier edition or something.

  3. TomboySissie April 19, 2011 at 12:08 AM #

    I feel much the same way, only I have an extremely deep masculine voice. I try to take comfort in the fact that as much as I hate it, everyone else thinks it’s incredibly sexy. Also, it does sound massively different when I listen to a recording.

    I suppose I’m lucky in that male voices can usually be trained to be much more feminine, and there are a fairly large number of resources available to help. But I honestly have no idea how I really sound when I try to use a more neutral or feminine voice. When it sounds good in my head, it still sounds very masculine in recordings. And I’m not confident enough to ask someone to actually listen to me attempting this.

    I’m not sure if it will help you much, but most of the MTF voice trainers say that the way you speak is often more important than the pitch of your voice. Altered speech patterns and phonetics can often make the difference. After all, most voices, male and female fall into the same pitch range, but you can still identify men and women based on the way they speak.

    Perhaps using more masculine speech patterns could help? You might sound like a young boy, perhaps, but that might be an improvement for you.

    • ace eccentric April 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM #

      I hope you find a way to gauge how you’re doing on retraining your voice. And I wish you luck with your efforts.

      Huh, that’s not something I would have considered altering. That’s something I’ll have to look into. I hadn’t considered using MTF resources on this but I also haven’t read into it much and was just thinking about my reluctance to get on T because the effects are so hard to predict and I’d only want very specific, small changes. Thank you for the advice! I will look into it some more.

    • ʎɟɟnןɟ June 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM #

      One thing that’s helped my own deep masculine voice is for me to really push my singing towards the top end of my range as much as I can. I don’t want to sound feminine but I don’t want to sound masculine either. By training my voice to be higher in pitch I find that my speaking voice much more naturally falls into a more feminine timbre.

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