Can you hear your own singing voice?

When I was young, I used to sing to myself in bed at night before falling asleep.  My mother recorded it once, and played the tape back to me, my siblings laughed, and that was that.  No more night-time singing.  I felt betrayed, intruded upon.  Much as I would feel later when I discovered that someone was watching me shower naked.  Violated.

But what about the times where we might consciously record our voices and play them back.  They always sound strange and alien.  I believe that most people don’t like the sound of it.  That would hold true for me.  But how our own voices sit in our own heads is not how they sound to others.  I suppose the recording of our own voice is too hard to dissociate from our expectations and could therefore only sound grating to us.

“I hate the sound of my voice,” is something that people have said to me, and a feeling I would generally echo.  Does this go away for people like singers who must listen to their voices as they sing?  Do you learn to dissociate the two? More importantly, do you modulate your voice and render the sounds you seek more accurately when you are singing and hearing your voice through headphones?  It is a mystery to me.

One of the greatest gifts we can be given is a beautiful voice.  I was not one of them.  I sing like a dying cat.  Out of tune, grating, horrible.  When someone tells me they like the sound of my voice I can’t help but look at them in disbelief.  One friend asked me to be one of the voices of her podcast.  I was flattered-horrified at the same time.  I mean, nobody in their right mind would like the sound of my voice.

But there is something strange going on in oestrogen-ville.  For one, I find myself wanting to sing much more.  I wake up some mornings with a song in my head and just want to belt it out.  I also play more music generally, but especially music to sing along to.  Throaty and powerful female voices.  And is it possible, am I less out of tune?  It sort of feels that way.

I always thought it would be a waste of time and money to take singing lessons, but now, I am feeling the need to incorporate them to my ever-growing list of things I want to do, to try, to learn.  Do I dare hope that oestrogen has given my tin ear a sheen?  Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?  Is this like puberty in reverse, which took me from choir boy to vocal pariah?  I have to know.

I was with a photographer friend the other day, and you have to figure that being a photographer is one of the greatest chat up lines of all time.  We cannot fail to be out and in a matter of minutes, he has whatever beautiful woman who is there posing for him, many eventually entering into correspondence with him.  In truth, a woman we both met at the same time I could not “see” as he had, even when he spoke so highly of her beauty and reminded me by showing me the snap he took at the time we met.  Didn’t work for me.  But then he showed met she looked like with the loving eyes of a camera in the hands of an artist, and she was like liquid magic, on film, moving her arms as she danced with the most wavy grace I think I have ever seen, and her beauty was intense and surreal.

Years ago my father spoke of how women had this natural sense of movement that men lacked.  Since he was a bit of a letch, I always discounted it even if I have had many wonderful dance partners over the years inspire me with their fluidity.  I love to dance, have always loved to.  Is it possible that dance is a gift of oestrogen?  Clearly there are the most extraordinary male dancers out there, but their movement is so utterly different.  I wonder if this is something you have to have lived with as your body changes on the cis path, or is it something that will come naturally.

There is no doubt that my walk is changing.  I spoke of a kind of skeletal readjustment that began before GAHT (gender affirming hormone therapy) and came with my first experiences taking Ayahuasca.  This has continued.  I don’t know if it is conscious or intentional, but is there without thinking.  It is called pelvic tilt, and it means that the back is more arched, one stands taller, and the butt rotates up and sticks out a bit more.  It changes your walk.  The flat-footed walk of comfortably male has been replaced by a walk that feels more graceful…a kind of floating.

Along with this is a sense that I have more joints than I used to.  It isn’t just flexibility, which is most definitely increasing—I can lay my hands flat on the ground now for the first time since I was about 10 when my legs are straight.  It is better described as more of me moving when I am moving.  If I dance, it feels as if I can do more things at once with my body, all in rhythm.  And I wonder if this is some kind of evolutionary thing….

The sexes have evolved separately and generally in ways that attract and mystify each other.  The number of men who look at me and double take, not quite processing the me that is obviously male, and strangely, this seems to happen more if I am dressing more boy or at least androgynous…they seem to “handle” it better when I am dressed in female-gendered clothes…as if they can classify me more easily as trans-whatever, with all that comes with it.  When I am in boy mode or something in between, it is as if they are startled by noticing something attractive about me.  It is a new experience.

It is also evident with women.  I can feel female desire more explicitly when I am in androgynous or boy mode.  When I am full female, it happens more fulsomely, but far less often, and it seems more joyful sisterhood than lust.  All of this is new to me.

When we grow up and go through puberty we go through all kinds of emotions and insecurities trying to get a handle on our own sexuality, feelings of gender identity, and how we are and can be more attractive to others.  As a ballerina giraffe I am conscious that there are far fewer partners who want to “jump my bones”, though many more who want to be my friend—after all us ballerina giraffes can be wonderful company.  Male me was most definitely attracted to my type.  And the type absolutely held—from all of my dommes, to my GF’s, to my eventual wife—line them up and they were not only physically similar, but also generally quite culturally similar.  I was a sucker for a beautiful woman.  I guess I still am.  

But what they look like seems to matter a lot less than before.  One consequence of the changing nature of sexual desire to one of touch and emotional connection, is that the aesthetic aspects are no longer as important.  They aren’t gone, but I see beauty in people in different ways.  It makes me think of those past judgemental thoughts like, “what on earth does she see in him,” when looking at a beautiful woman with a less-than-gorgeous man.  The cynic might say money, but beyond that, there is something very different about how women see men.  They have gentler, more indulgent eyes.  We might mistake this as the mommy genes.  It isn’t.  It is that beauty is way more complex than just physical attributes.  My feminising brain is experiencing this change real-time…and as a result I am “willing”, nay, eager, to sleep/play/kiss women who are just wonderfully fun, delicious companions.

Just one more way that life tastes better.

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