It's like the sound of your own voice, resonating through your mind. A certain pitch, a certain tone, a certain volume. Always it has been there, always the same. I didn't ever really notice the breaking of my own voice - a slow, gradual process, I learnt to adapt to the changes over time - there was never a time that I thought to myself "I sound different…"
It becomes one of the greatest constants in life - I speak, and a familiar voice emanates. I know this voice, because it's mine. I've heard it more than any living person - through excitement, through pain. When I'm frustrated, I recognize the tonal shift. When I'm on the verge of tears, I understand the difference - the cracking, and the lack of breath.
It has always been this way, and it will remain this way for life. As I grow old, and my vocal chords change, I will not grow alarmed at the deepening - it will be something that grows to be normal, the way it has always been.
We can take our voices, and record the sound. Play it back, and the majority react in surprise and denial…'that isn't what I sound like, that's not ME!' The difference is alien and unusual, the reaction one of embarrassment - the thought that everyone else has been listening to this for all this time, but that's not what you thought they were hearing.
We grow used to ourselves, our feelings, the way we are.
I see myself from the inside - not out. Third person commentaries are delivered from a first person viewpoint - I speak of 'he', yet can observe only what I've seen from within. I talk about the 'real me', the me that nobody else knows about, about what goes on in this head of mine that only I know about. I talk about 'the full picture', as though I'm the only person who can witness it.
When in a bath, I love nothing more than placing my head under the water, hearing the noise amplified beneath the surface. The way that moving your body against the surface produces a loud squeaking that's just everywhere. Overlaying all, is the sound of my own heart, and it feels as though it is beating inside my mind - the subtleties of the sound as I can hear the distinct phases of its beat - valves opening then closing, and rather than hearing the sound of a drum beating, it's the sound of fluid motion.
In the space of centimetres, as my ears go from dry to submerged, entire new sensations are opened to me, Truths not audible a moment before are all consuming and undeniable, and the entire picture is forced to shift.
"'The full picture'. The very idea now makes me laugh, as I realize that far from being the only person to see it, I'm in the worst possible position to witness it. Truth distorted by perception and familiarity…the sound of a voice so familiar, yet not how I truly sound. Reactions and signals and retreatings and walls and closings I believe hidden, or don't realize exist. You see through it though, don't you?
"I will never hear the sound of my own voice pressed close to your ear. I won't hear it as it breaks into laughter, pressed against your belly. Not when it cracks, as emotion takes it for its own, or in frustration. I will never see myself with wonder in my own eyes, never see what passes from my eyes to yours, as my breath deepens.. I won't ever catch myself looking puzzled at a random time."
There are times when everything passing across his face is telling the story, not the words. He'll be sitting there, struggling to find the right words for the moment. Dismissing words, and phrases. Moving through half a sentence, before realising that there is no logical conclusion. Trying to fit the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are the thoughts in his mind together, attempting to create an image, trying to show you the picture hidden in the fragments.
All the time as he searches for words, his face tells the real story. It's been there for years, telling the story he won't speak, freely for anyone to read. If you're willing to believe what you see, nothing is hidden from you.
We're all blind.
The trick is finding someone willing to tell you what they see.
The challenge is not doubting their vision.
The liberation is seeing what they see.