By Ty Autry
Going into Atlantic Acting School, I didn’t know my voice. I felt disjointed, weak, and inadequate. My voice has always been, what I considered, the bane of my acting career.
You’re too gay.
You’re too femme.
You’re too young.
You’re not a good singer.
You’re not masculine enough.
These words have haunted me since I was a little boy, homeschooled, and a group of other kids made fun of me for my rainbow-colored sneakers. But, the teasing and the antagonizing didn’t stop there. As I grew up and came into my own, even the guys I dated started to use words like:
You sound like a girl
You should try deepening your voice
You speak way too high for a guy
In combination with the bullies telling me my voice is wrong, to the guys I’ve dated saying it isn’t normal, to hear my peers talk about it… you start to form this idea. So, over the years I’ve developed this idea that my voice isn’t right. It was wrong, didn’t help me in life, and isn’t normal. Going 25 years with thinking that your voice isn’t good enough is hard because our words create our reality it is how we communicate with others, and if we don’t believe in the power of our own voice, it has a lasting impact.
After training at Atlantic this summer, I had a few weeks where I was able to just sit in the training. Think it over, put it into practice, and let my mind start to digest all of the beautiful things I had learned. My teachers really let us have it, in the best way possible, and it was nice to get some fresh air and go over everything. Then it hit me, out of nowhere…Holy shit. I’m proud of my voice. My unique voice. This is what it is, and I am proud of it.Here I stand/write, 25 years later. Able to look back at my past and see the journey I went on to get to a place where I can stand, be grounded, and speak knowing that my voice is my own.
It is here to stay, change over time, but it will forever be my instrument.