It can happen over time or in a minute. Losing your voice… As you can imagine, I don’t mean losing your physical voice, but rather your inner voice. The who-you-are-as-a-person. Our human nature is made up of so many elements. Our passion, our physical words or language, our loves; even our little mannerisms or things that we love to do or that’s become part of our life. The culmination of these elements become the DNA of who we are.
The DNA which expresses who we are and how people start to recognise us. Sometimes, with words and sometimes there are absolutely no words involved. But yet it remains our voice.
Let’s use an example: You might be someone that loves drawing something – it might be doodles or serious creative work. However, this drawing becomes part of who you are. People close to you (and sometimes removed), are aware of it. They see it and they also share in those drawings. That forms part of your voice, together with your physical language, or even the fact that you have super green fingers in the garden and above that can stain furniture like no interior decorator. It’s not just what you can do, but part of your voice, the things that your friends recognise you through.
And then it starts to go, slowly without noticing you just stop doing it. Don’t draw anymore, as you have no inclination to do it. As much as people ask you to do it, or ask why not; you don’t know. But you just can’t do it. Then it’s the next thing and the next thing that’s so part of you that goes. That’s what I see as losing your voice. Something might’ve come along, or your life changed, or you are struggling with things in your life and a lot of time it’s a culmination of things, but it just made you stop. The favourite excuse (as normally these things are not the thing that pays the bills), is that “I just don’t have time”. But if you think about it you always made time for it, right? Unfortunately, you normally realise this too late.
I see it however that you can get into situations where you become so drawn in that you don’t notice anything about yourself anymore. The environment and the people that you are with almost take you over, that you forget who you are and what your dreams are. And before you know it, you’ve become what they want you to be or what you think they want you to be. Only you can stop the process. Be aware every day of yourself. Finish your day with that bit of an ‘overview’ of what you learned or did. Re-visit your dreams regularly to see if you’re still on track. And above all; Make time for yourself, just you. No social media, no cell phone, no people..but you. Sit on a rock staring at the sea or find that spot in the garden that becomes your space. Have a heart to heart with yourself, check that you are still there where you are happy with who you are. Check that your voice is still there. Getting that voice back takes time and it’s a very difficult process. It takes physical and mental effort; lots of work – self-talk, meditation and facing those demons. So, protect that voice of yours. Only you can do it.
When I lost my voice, I would not have tried this recipe. I just wasn’t trying new things and didn’t have the guts or energy to attempt new things. This recipe is me, trying new things again.
Eggplant baked chips with cumin yoghurt dip
(Perfect as a snack or served as a side dish. I served it with home made fish cakes.)
2 medium size eggplants, cut into chips
Salt to sprinkle the eggplant
375 ml bread crumbs
15 ml smoked paprika
15 ml ground black pepper
Olive oil to drizzle
2 eggs, beaten
For the dip
250 ml plain yoghurt
45 ml good quality mayonnaise
15 ml lemon juice
30 ml whole cumin, dry roasted
Salt & pepper to taste
After you’ve cut the eggplant into the shaped chips that you want, drizzle liberally with fine salt to draw out the moisture. (I am not getting into the debate of ‘to salt or not to salt’ and whether you want to get rid of bitterness.) I did it to draw out the excess moisture. Pat them dry with kitchen towel after about 20 to 30 minutes.
Mix the bread crumbs, paprika, salt and pepper together. You can do it in a zip lock bag or brown paper bag.
In batches dip the eggplant in the egg and then into the bag and shake to coat them. Place them on a baking tray, lined with foil and drizzled with some olive oil that you rubbed over the foil.
Drizzle some more olive oil over the chips and place in a pre-heated oven of 200
°C. Let it bake for about 20 – 30 minutes or until it’s to your liking. Some might want it softer and other crispier. You can also fry it in oil, but I prefer this version as it’s a bit healthier and while it’s baking in the oven you can get on with other things.
Making the dip
Simply combine the dip elements and mix it through and remember to taste. Adjust the seasoning as required.