The sound of my voice.
This prompt speaks to me (ha, you see what I did there?) on at least four levels.
Mundanely, there's how I sound. I talk to myself a lot, and to the dog when nobody else is around. Many people don't know that I have partial hearing loss - about 30%, mostly in the upper ranges. This significantly affects how my own voice sounds when it comes through my head versus being reproduced externally. I dislike the way I sound on playback - it sounds nothing like the voice I hear when I speak. Other people don't mind it as much as I do - to them I have one voice sound - so I try not to let it bother me, much. But it does.
Then there's my "voice" - the style in which I speak and write. Both have too many prepositional phrases, lots of sub-clauses (and parentheticals) and tend to wind up eventually back where I intend, but not always. This makes for occasionally good comedy and it fits well with story-telling. Perhaps one of the reasons I like telling stories so much is that it's how my voice sounds. Also perhaps for this reason I have a knack for hearing the voices other people speak in. I used to do interviews and took pride in showing my interview subjects my edited product if they would say, "Yes, that sounds like me."
If you've hung out with me for any amount of time you've probably noticed that the "I" that speaks is just one of the I inside. At any given moment my internal chorus is 3-6 voices. This makes it hard to say what I'm thinking about because it's often several things. Also, I find it necessary sometimes to vocalize a thing to see if I believe it. I can sometimes be found arguing one side of a proposition and then turning around and trying to argue myself out of it. This tends to annoy my cow orkers, if not my friends.
Then there's my speaking style. I am loud, and can be perceived as aggressive. I have a reputation for shooting from the hip, often to my own detriment. The distinction between "inside voice" and "outside voice" is one I do well to keep in mind and if you know me well enough to be in a situation where I really let the inside voices out... well, then you know me well enough. There's the Ugly Hat test, and there have been many situations in which I've been admonished for speaking my mind, none of which seem to have deterred me. I speak bluntly, calling spades as I see them. I am not known to suffer fools or the willfully ignorant.
Some of this is due to my own cognitive lapses. I have been described as having high-functioning Asperger's, but the description I like best came from a boss a few jobs ago who remarked that I was "organizationally tone deaf." Yes, that, precisely that - I don't grok the subtleties of things not said, and I cannot for the life of me listen between the lines. I know that such things exist and that others see it, but you might as well expect a color-blind person to tell red and green apart as expect me to pick up the nuances of group communication. I do much better 1:1 and I've been told by many people that I'm a very different person in one-on-one situations than I am in group situations.
Finally there is my voice, as a voice among many. What I write, what I advocate, what I believe, what I teach. My voice is one that speaks on religion, politics, philosophy. My voice is shaped by generations of socialists, Capital-C Communists, and other social misfits. My past includes suffragettes and people who marched with black Americans for civil rights. I grew up watching the Watergate hearings and I spoke about AIDS when our President wouldn't say the word. I spoke advice for poly people when there were no public fora for us - before the word was well-known. I wonder if speaking with this voice is part of a tradition of changing the world through changing hearts and minds, or just more arrogance to think I have anything worthwhile to say.
In our sleep
As we speak
Listen to the drums beat