I hate my voice.
Or, at least, I used to. Even at 30 years old, I can still get away with telling telemarketers that my mom's not home. My voice is high and thin and sweet. It's the kind of voice that can't be disguised. I'm a hopeless prank caller. My first uttered word gives me away.
When I was sixteen, I worked as a receptionist at a car dealership. I frequently had to page the salesmen out on the lot over the intercom system. My little voice was magnified and broadcasted all the way down to State Street. When things were slow, the salesmen got kicks out of mimicking my pages over the intercom. I would shrink in my desk, their imitations of my voice ringing through the quiet sales office, wishing I could disappear.
I went to high school with a guy who had an even worse voice than mine. His voice was kind of like Kermit the Frog's - only more strained and higher pitched. He was bright and kind and funny - but his voice distracted people from noticing those things. I ran into him a few years after high school, and, lo and behold, when we started talking, he had a different voice. Startlingly different. His voice was low and smooth and easy - a man's voice, the kind of voice he should have had. Turns out, he had actually had some kind of vocal therapy to change the way he talked. His new voice suited him.
About this time, I was thinking of being a high school teacher. When I'd tell people this, they would usually smile politely. However, one of my friends flat out laughed when I confessed my ambition to her. "You can't teach!" she'd laughed, "There's no way you could control a classroom with that voice of yours."
Ouch. My voice is a disability, I told my dad. It limits what I can do. It misleads people into thinking I am sweeter than I am. It grants me no authority. I told him about my friend and his voice lessons. And then, sincerely, my dad asked me if I would be interested in something like that. Ouch, ouch. He was serious.
I still haven't gotten around to taking those voice lessons. I guess I probably never will. As much as my voice limits me, it also defines me. Like it or not, my voice suits me. I think my sugary sweet voice helped me develop an unlikely sarcastic sense of humor. I like that my friends know who I am when I call them on the phone. There's something comforting in being recognizable, identifiable.
And not having to talk to telemarketers isn't so bad, either.