Beautiful Little Voice

Waterolor beautiful girl. Vector illustration of woman beauty salon

As I tried to think about all the beautiful things I could write about for August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest V, I realized most had to do with what I’ve learned with age:

  • Patience
  • Let it go
  • Live in the moment
  • The power of hindsight

I could go on and on. But in the end, I decided the most beautiful thing about growing older is removing my mask—a mask that was molded by the philosophy of “saving face.”

Wikipedia defines “saving face” as:

The term face idiomatically refers to one’s own sense of dignity or prestige in social contexts. In the English-speaking world, the expression “To save face” describes the lengths that an individual may go to in order to preserve their established position in society, taking action to ensure that one is not thought badly of by their peers.

This was my mom’s philosophy—to do whatever necessary to preserve dignity. Of course, as a child, dignity was not at the top of my priority list. Still, I pondered this concept, thinking it almost scary as I imagined not having a face. I even drew spooky people without faces. No doubt those images weighed on me more heavily than any desire to be “dignified.” Whatever the reason, I began the pattern of saving face from childhood, even if that face was only a mask.

What is the value of saving face, if that face is only a mask?

Yet, while my mother taught me to “save face,” I taught my kids to listen to their “little voice.” I realize there’s dissonance in those two philosophies, and there’s little doubt in my mind that my advice to my children to “listen to your little voice” was born of repressing my own inner voice in an effort to “save face,” or appear dignified to others.

Geisha (2)

That inner voice begins as a whisper. If I ignore the whisper, it begins to rumble. If I try to shove it aside, as I’ve often done, it starts to bubble and boil, until finally, it erupts and I have no choice but to listen. It may take years, but that little voice will be heard.

Many decisions in my life have been caught in this battle between saving face and listening to my little voice. In the past, saving face may have won the battle, but my inner voice always, always, wins the war. Not listening to this stubborn, beautiful little voice has had its consequences.

In much of my writing, my characters’ inner voices are practically characters unto themselves. As in The Red Kimono, I internalize a lot in my writing, so readers will know who my characters are behind the masks they wear for the outside world.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in “saving face.” But dignity shouldn’t come at the cost of authenticity.

Jan at ArtCure

Our little voice is the most beautiful part of who we are, because it’s the truth of who we are.





Click HERE to read more Beauty of a Woman Blogfest V stories!

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16 Responses to Beautiful Little Voice

  1. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest V! #BOAW16 - August McLaughlin

  2. I love this so much, Jan. Thank you for exploring aging, and the value of that inner voice — whether doing so helps us appear dignified or not. Such valuable lessons for us all. Your kids, and the fest, are mighty lucky to have you!


  3. What a fantastic post on aging, Jan. This is such a fantastic lesson to teach – in particular me, who changes opinion about aging every other day. 🙂
    Well done and what an add to this amazing blog fest.


  4. Aleisha Gore says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Love this. 🙂


  5. Keep listening to your little voice–it knows!


  6. One of the fabulous aspects of August’s BOAW is the wide variety of topics explored. And the originality! I love it! Thanks for this, Jan. Excellent food for thought!


  7. I love this. While I truly believe everyone should never lose their little voice, I wish more believed in holding onto a little more dignity. A nice balance might be the answer the community needs instead of hurling insults and criticisms at each other constantly. Great post!


  8. Michelle says:

    Your post spoke to me on so many levels, especially embracing our own authenticity. As women, we are expected to repress our “little voice,” which I’ve always believed is part of our intuition. Bravery lies in the act of being. And, you, Jan, are BEING a badass mama jama!


  9. I am finally catching up with the Beauty posts. Yours is powerful! It’s great that you were able to pass on the wisdom to your children to listen to those voices, even if this wasn’t they way you were brought up. Yet, if we ONLY listen to that voice, we may find ourselves exposed/exposing in a way that isn’t healthy, either. As with so many things, it’s about balance.


  10. Your true face is lovely. Listening to that inner voice often means going down the road less traveled, but the rewards are worth the hardships!


  11. I love this! I call the little voice “listening to your gut instincts.” It is one’s authentic self, but also it often sees things more clearly than our rational minds do.


  12. Mustang.Koji says:

    Boy, you sure can convey your thoughts and feelings so eloquently. I am jealous as I am a “hit you over the head” type.


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