I have no voice

“I have no voice,” I said to myself. I would have said it out loud, but I literally had no voice—just a tiny whisper.

A sinus infection was probably the cause of this temporary loss, but I have had sinus infections in the past and never lost my voice.

Believing in the mind-body connection—that our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our physical health—I wondered if losing my voice meant something on a deeper level.

In the hours before losing my voice, I had been talking about some of the events that led to my moving back to Michigan—maybe losing my voice was an indication that it was time to let go of my life in Pennsylvania and invest myself more fully in my new life.

Then another possibility occurred to me. Years ago, I remember writing in my journal that I hoped I would get to a place in my life where I no longer talked—not because of a stroke or some kind of cancer, but rather that I would have said all I needed to say.

When I shared that reflection with a friend, he chortled, incredulous that I could imagine I would ever stop talking. I talk a lot; being an extrovert, talking is usually how I process things.

I can be quiet, though. Every year, I go on a week-long silent retreat and my dream is to go on a thirty-day silent retreat.

When I went to Poland for two weeks of language school, I pledged to speak only Polish. Being a beginner in my language skills, I rarely spoke outside of the classroom. It felt like a two-week silent retreat.

And, since I moved to Michigan two years ago, I have spent more time in quiet than at any other in my life. Whole days pass without my having spoken to anyone but the dog. Often, I don’t even turn on music or the television. I like the quiet. I find it soothing.

Is it possible that my journal entry was coming true, that I am at that place in my life when I had said all I needed to say?

I hope not, because I think that I am really just finding my voice. I resonate with the phrase winter artist, because after so many years of living and learning and gaining experience, I finally believe I have something to say, something that might actually be helpful to someone.

My voice returned within a few days, but the experience has left me mind mindful of my words—and more grateful for my voice.

8 thoughts on “I have no voice

  1. michelebaldwin46

    As I read your post, Madeline, I am thinking that the question of “Why” still lingers. This thought from Marie Ranier Rilke comes to mind: “Sometime we have to live with the questions and, only over time, grow into the answers.”

  2. annemarielom

    A very insightful piece, Madeline! I, too, being an extrovert, find silence soothing and calming. The older I get, the more I love silence. Maybe that is a gift the extrovert has to offer the world… thought filled and wise words spoken from a very deep place.

  3. Jane Banik


    Since I’m losing my voice quite a bit lately, this blob caught my attention, I know that mine is associated with COPD; but it serves as an alert for me to pay attention to my health. I’m also realizing that people have a hard time hearing me. Like you, I thought it was because I’m alone much of the time and not using my voice. When I do speak I often wonder whether what I have to say is as important as it used to be. Hmmmm.

    Love Jane

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Jane, I hope that the winnowing process that is aging means that I say less because I have a better sense of what is really important. I think I am much more aware when I say things that did not need to be said. I sometimes wish I had a butterfly net to catch the words that leave my mouth that did not need to be said.


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