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Always an Adventure: Use Your Voice


Growing up, I played multiple instruments. No, I wasn’t magically gifted. I struggled because I played by ear instead of reading music. I idolized Alicia Keys. I had her hairstyles, played the piano, I could sing and hit every note she hit – in my mind, I was the next Alicia Keys. My vocal coach encouraged me not to be another copy but to use my voice. I don’t think she knew the impact those words would still have today. 

We are told to listen and follow instructions as a kid, but it wasn’t natural for me. I questioned everything around me. My mom always encouraged me to speak up when I saw things that weren’t right, so I always went forward saying, “As long as my mom is proud of me, I’m cool.”

Our voices might not always be the popular opinion, but our voices might make an impact. Our voices should always be original and honestly who we are, not who we think others want us to be. Our children are encouraged to use their voices. When my daughter comes to me and tells me about something she didn’t like, I allow her to speak, and we address how we can change it together. 

I don’t want my children to be a copy of something that I wish for them. I want them to know they can use their voice, and I will proudly stand behind them. 

Nakeshia Shannon is a photographer and mother of three. Visit her online at NakeshiaRenee.com.