What does it mean to take ownership of your voice? By Skyla Grayce

This piece was written by my gorgeous and wildly insightful friend Skyla Grayce back in June.

Her new website is SO dope and has offerings I haven’t seen anywhere else. Authentically communicating, birthing your book, showing up consciously online, saying what you mean. She is your girl!! No affiliate arrangement at all— I just so appreciate fresh and important work. Go and check out www.skylagrayce.com. Designed by the wonderful Freya Rose Tanner— same amazing chica who did mine!

A few thoughts inspired by Peta Kelly’s recent experience with having parts of her book, Earth is Hiring, plagiarised.

What does it mean to take ownership of your voice? 

Why do we copy other people’s work?

My sense is that it is because we do not value our own voice. We feel powerless to speak up from our own perspective and so we shamelessly steal another's voice to try on their perceived power and authenticity as if it is our own. But like an oversized t-shirt or an undersized shoe, it doesn’t fit. It was never there’s to share, never there’s to own. The words of the original author have lost their meaning on the thief even if they touched them in the beginning as in the act of offering them as their own they have lost their resonance. It is literally like taking someone else's child and saying it's your baby when the people around you know you didn’t carry it for nine months they simply can not accept the baby to be yours. 

You see the truth is a magnet and only truth has magnetism. 

If you take another's truth and try and hold it up as your own the frequency of the words change, they no longer hold the power or authenticity of the intention or transmission running through them. In taking them you are diluting them and disrespecting the author and yourself. 

The other side of this argument is to look at ownership. To dive into what it means to own something. Because there is a difference between being identified with what moves through you and trying to own that so that you feel like you are someone and taking ownership as a sacred shamanic quest of love and service to that which moves you to move out into the world. 

When inspiration moves through you it is because you are able to serve the needs of that story, that product, that business that gift that has asked you to offer it and sometimes when a gift comes knocking at your door it feels too big and it brings with it all the lessons you have to live in order to be ready to be able to hold the depth of it so that others can receive it. So yes on a deeper level nothing can be owned and yet it is up to the author, the form of the physical body who is living in the reality we live in the one where money governs our ability to get our needs met to honour the formless by staying clear and conscious in how these pieces of art are shared and birthed and offered in a way that holds it all. 

Do we disregard the seed that birthed the shoot that put down roots and became a flower? So why should we treat the author, painter, creator, musician or maker with such disrespect and may I add with such low and feeble monetary returns. Why do people say things like all art should be for everyone, it should be free…. NO. Do you go to the dentist and expect his art to be free? Do you go to the doctor and expect her art to be free? Do you go to the baker and ask for a free loaf of bread. That bread is the baker's art and the stories we share as artists are as valuable as that bread, the coffee we drink. It’s time this idea about being an artist as being a privileged act and a penniless one to die. 

I am not living a life as an artist because I am privileged it is instead a privilege to serve my own life as art and with the lack of funds, support and respect that you get as an artist it is the hardest path to take, there are no monthly salaries, no pension, no mortgages for the self-employed artist, no fancy title or bonuses. You give your life to the art of life as a prayer and many never see their work go beyond the walls of their homes and private studio spaces. 

So when you steal online when you take from someone's words, use someone's image and discredit them by posting asleep at the wheel know this. That came from someone's heart. That came from the soul of someone. The spirit of someone who was brave enough to do everything it might take to offer their art online. 

When you take it know that it is simply not possible for you to hold the value or know the origin of the piece. Your assumption of how easy it was to make, to write is bullshit. And the reason you give it away as your own so freely and don’t even flinch is that you don’t know because if you knew what it took to offer what you have taken you would feel ashamed.

You have no idea what it took to live it, be it, breathe it, become it, surrender to it because you didn’t create it. It was not earned or experienced and in this lack of value, this lack of respect and understanding of it you share it superficially in an attempt to be like the person who birthed it trying desperately to obtain some sense of popularity. Did you feel popular?

To the thief that stole another's words, others brands, another's ideas, others images…  

It won’t last. It can’t because you can not uphold a copy of an image a forgery of another's life it is not sustainable for you it will weigh you down like a millstone around your neck and suck you dry of your own creative energy. A constant reminder of how you are not enough fueled by your unconscious behaviour of robbing others art for your own gain. 

Any yet in this fierceness, I feel you, I feel the pain of not valuing your own voice. Of not knowing how to express what is yours. Your voice is your voice and their voice is theirs. 

Please know that your actions to imitate that of another are from a place of lack and that by taking from another in order to fill the emptiness you feel will never work. It is an unfillable void that you look to fill. It is the belief of your own unworthiness, not belonging and perfectionism that haunts you and keeps you from offering the truth of who you are. 

This is a crisis of value we are living and it’s all over the internet. 

We have stopped being able to value where we are at as enough. We have forgotten who we are, and have dismissed the path we have travelled as rubbish, the person we have grown to be as insignificant. And I get it as what we value today is no longer heart it is celebrity, it is champagne and fast cars. In our current culture, we live in a world where we are constantly made to feel less than in order to consume something that will, as a result, make us feel more than - will make us feel we belong and that we are enough. 

Makeup, a holiday, a new car, a house, a handbag all giving a voice to an identity we can hide in - in order to feel something - to feel better. But we don’t. We steal the ideas and values of a brand to make us align with something anything that we can find to keep up appearances and stop us really looking at how much pain we are in. 

So of course you copy, take and steal. We are being taught to do this by everything we see. But know this the pain you are in does not, however, give you the right to steal. 

In reading this article you are now bringing awareness to this behaviour no longer are you asleep you are now conscious and for each and every decision you make moving forward you have a choice in whether you copy or not. 

It is being stuck in comparison that is holding our life at ransom and confirming your experience of it as insignificant. This is what is making us so desperate to matter, to belong, to be seen, to be heard. 

And it is this desperateness that supports the need to copy, take and share other people’s work. 

When my sense is that by the very nature of being given a life means you are alive whether you choose to acknowledge it or not - you exist - and it is this simple fact of existence that is never enough to the egoic mind. 

Ask yourself why it is not enough to be in the world as a human being taking responsibility for yourself your living and learning. There is something in us that feels it needs to make its mark, discover a piece of land, carve out a space, invent something that marks our time in history. And it’s all within the framework of a lifetime and in this framework of time, we grasp and choke on our limited nature of our form to deliver on this. So we look at others who have or are doing something powerful, meaningful with jealousy and contempt and use this as an excuse to take what’s there’s and use it for our own gain. And all because we find the edge of our life, our own mortality too hard to bare. And rather then use this as fuel to do the work for ourselves inspired by our brothers and sisters we feel this imminently drawing threat of the end of our own life and it is this that stops us living fully. We get scared and defer all responsibility of our existence on to others, governments and organisations. 

All because we doubt the power of our own voice and hesitate to give a voice to what we have to offer. 

This is the root of so much suffering. And the beginning of how humans took a wrong turn. When we stole land from indigenous people we took and claimed ownership over nature and disconnected ourselves from source in order to create an image of wealth and power. And this choice was made based on what that one person valued and it was a to value self-image it was the start of selfish the origin of greed.

Go and check out Skyla’s work at www.skylagrayce.com. There really is nothing like it around.


Peta Kelly