The Splendor That Is Our Voices

My Symphony: Vice Verses by Switchfoot

“To be or not to be; that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them: to die, to sleep; no more.”

There is definitely more to the movie “The King’s Speech” than just a king overcoming his speech impediment and finding courage and inspiration to lead his country. It is without a doubt a tough and dire duty to sit in the throne and take the obligations of a king. However, it is an even more arduous challenge for someone who has so much goodness in him to find strength and determination to articulate that goodness through the use of his voice. In the movie, it is demonstrated that great power comes with great responsibilities. Often for someone in power, responsibilities mean public duty, diplomatic skills and dealing with the people’s problems. King George VI also dealt with this string of duties but with the added burden of constantly having to battle his stammering every time he delivered a speech. Fortunately for King George VI and for the rest of us who have watched the movie, a self-taught and self-acclaimed speech therapist, Lionel, unveils several truths about the voice within us.

“No infant starts to speak with a stammer.” This line is said by Lionel in the first quarter of the movie. He then asks “Bertie”, the Duke of York (who soon becomes King George VI in the movie) when he can remember he started to stammer. Bertie says he was four or five years old when his speech began to slur. “When you talk to yourself, do you stammer?” Lionel then asks this question to Bertie who answered with a no. “That proves that your impediment is an impermanent part of you”, says Lionel.

When Lionel said that last statement in that particular part of the movie, I just instantly became drawn to the reality that a perfectly modulated and clear voice has always been a part of me and of who I am. It is part of my nature, but somehow some things happened and I lost that eloquence somewhere. In the movie, Bertie’s impediment made him fear a lot of things including his own shadow. But in the later part of the film, he loudly said that he should be listened to because he has a right, and most specially, he has a voice. It’s very interesting how The King’s Speech not only opened my mind and my awareness of the events that happened in the 1930’s up to the 1940’s but also of the importance of our voice and finding strength and meaning in it. Even in the film, it is shown that no matter how kind, pure and genuine a person is, the only way he can actually radiate those qualities is by being able to articulate and enunciate the goodness that dwells in his heart.

Perhaps darkness can be blinding, and silence can be deafening, but it is one thing to stammer, and another thing not to speak.

To be; that is the answer.

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One thought on “The Splendor That Is Our Voices

  1. Kenn – about 15 years ago I was with my sister and encountered someone we both knew – and after we departed my sister asked how I could allow that person to insult me, as he apparently did, without reacting.

    I was somewhat dumbfounded by her question, and so asked her exactly what the slight regarding me had been. She mentioned what he’d said – and I simply replied that I didn’t even here him say that thing to me – so obviously couldn’t counter-act it at the time.

    Thinking about this episode afterwards, as I tend to do about particular happenings, I wondered where I learned to not actually hear negative things said directly to me – and I quickly realized that that skill or habit was acquired from my parents.

    For my dad, over the years, too easily said derrogatory things, put downs, about my mother while in the company of others – and I had always thought it odd how she never ‘caught on’ or reacted to the obvious barb. Yet here I was doing exactly the same thing in my own life, oblivious to it even happening.

    One characteristic of mine, which is sometimes a delight, sometimes a burden – is that I tend to make people I encounter so comfortable around me that they say absolutely anything that comes to mind. Yet I’m a sensitive being and don’t take criticism well, so am oftentimes surprised at the licence people take in some of the things they say.

    I have a friend and his family camping next door for a week – also a guy from Surrey like you are – and he was hassling me yesterday about undercutting myself in regards to my intelligence. He can’t figure why I sometimes deride myself as I sometimes do, and how I make a deliberate effort to appear dumber than I actually am.

    Kenn – you seem to suffer from the the same affliction, though of a slightly different nature. When you say declare that a “modulated and clear voice has always been part of who I am. It is part of my nature, but somehow some things happened and I lost that eloquence somewhere.”

    Kenn – just like my neighbour admonishing me yesterday, just like me ‘not hearing’ those barbs years ago – I think you’re reading yourself wrong. I mean, just writing that very complaint in such an elequent fashion discounts your claim.

    And your final line; “Perhaps darkness can be blinding, and silence can be deafening, but it is one things to stutter, and another thing not to speak.”

    What is that if not profound? What is that if not yanked from the depths of your soul and laid out before us so beautifully?

    Am I going to have to come to your house and slap you silly about the head – hoping to knock some sense into that marvellous head and heart of yours? I’m tempted to do just that, my friend.

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