So today, October 7th, 2014 is my last solo voice session – I have officially finished the learning part and according to my coach, I’ve satisfied the department with my vocal performance. I’ve also been told that I have an excellent memory for pitch and sound; that I’ve managed to re-tune or feminized my voice with ease, something he explains, not every client manages to achieve Which I believe. Then he tells me we might have finished but now the real learning begins. Oh!!
The last few sessions didn’t feel like voice classes at all!
For the last eight months (there was no appointment in August), every sessions starts with Matthew pouring me a glass of water, something he seems to do with every client.. It’s a lovely gesture but I always have my own choice of bottled water. Nothing special, just your regular french mineral water, I buy them cause every session gets tiring and my throat dehydrates. Drinking fluids between exercises helps me perform better. I’ve tried soda in the past but found it less effective, just speaking from my experience.
Each session usually starts off with in the usual manner with a simple meet and greet. I’ll remove my coat/jacket, make myself comfortable just before he’ll ask a few questions, essentially a follow up or quick overview of my events since the last few weeks. He asks how I’m feeling? What I’ve been up to? Is there anything new to report? etc.. All very friendly and informal.
This might not sound like a voice session but it is, it’s an opportunity for my voice coach to evaluate the quality of voice, identify weaknesses, get corrections and/or suggestions; then explore how I might use it in every situations via question and answers. It also allowed him to better understand where I am on my journey – I’m told just because someone doesn’t fully transition, it isn’t seen as a fail. I’m reminded it’s not an examination, it’s just that’re not ready to take it to the next stage…
We chatted casually for almost an hour, delving into my private and family life, revealing any new experiences encountered and how they’re (others) are taking my decision to transition etc. I’ve discussed this several times, I guess they just wanna make sure what I’m doing is right for me and that I’m absolutely sure this is what I want!! Sometimes, I get the feeling the GIC is worried about something.
In my heart, I don’t wanna wait. I wish it could happen overnight cause right now I feel that my life is on hold and there’s this giant door in front of me, and I’m this little person trying hard to shift a overtly heavy shutter that’s blocking my pathway.. It’s physically standing between me and my destination… It’s a horrible feeling but that’s the truth!
How do I feel?
I have to say, so far the journey has been all good. I feeling much happier where I am today, than where I was previously. Being given the opportunity to have those voice therapy session has improved my confidence level when it comes to speaking in a more feminine manor. Although it’s early days yet, I feel there’s still much to learn about how I use my own voice – My own biggest hurdle now is making this new voice my default. Little by little, I’m becoming more and more comfortable speaking with my beautiful new voice.
Yes! An achievement I previously didn’t know how to hurdle over!!
I’ve been made aware of a few things.
My solo voice classes are finished.
I’m now waiting to have some hair removal sessions to commence. I’m pretty hairless compared to other people, I’d imagine 8 or so laser sessions aught to be enough. We shell see. – A write up of how to get free hair removal sessions is coming!!!
Next I’ll have another assessment – being intersex makes some things more complicated, I can tell you!!
Regardless of my assessment’s outcome, I’ll be placed into a group voice session, it’ll be an opportunity to meet more people like me and practice our voice together, learn how women talk o one another, use their voices and gain additional experiences etc… – dates to be arranged.
About Matthew Mills
Lead Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the Gender Identity Clinic, London
Matthew Mills BA (Hons) MSc AGSM LTCL Mus Ed cert. MRCSLT Reg.HCPC
Matthew is Lead Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (Transgender Voice and Communication) at the Gender Identity Clinic, London where he has worked since 2009. He is also a voice coach and musician and teaches actors at voice coaches at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, London. He teaches speech and language therapy students at the University of Greenwich. He originally trained as an actor and singer at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and worked in theatre film and television for 15 years.