I’m participating in Write ALM’s Prompt-a-Day for the month of February. Feel free to join us!
Today’s prompt is
I have spent a lifetime learning to speak. There have been times in my life when I have essentially been mute. I have watched myself from afar – knowing what words I need to say, my brain transmitting them to my mouth, lips, tongue, and teeth moving but no sound escaping. I have paused and rallied and attempted again, with no results.
It is incredibly frustrating, both for me and for those around me. Particularly if it’s something that needs to be said – for instance, in a relationship or in a work situation where difficult conversations must be had.
I have always been much better at putting my thoughts on paper or out here in the world through the keys of my computer. While they say that writing is difficult because we are essentially putting ourselves out there on the page, I have found that it is much easier to bare who I am, what moves me, what maddens me, what hurts me, on the page. There is distance in writing and the opportunity to be clear and precise that spoken language does not provide.
I have been working assiduously for many years to get better at being able to speak. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that out-of-body experience of watching myself attempt to speak and failing miserably at it. I am still halting and measured. most of the time. Trying desperately to carefully speak my truth, to say what I need to say in a way that as harmless as possible to others.
This care – this attempt at precision – means that there is much that remains unsaid. When I’ve had a moment to think or to explore it through my writing, I can determine if something is blowing up a blizzard or just happens to be a minor squall. Generally speaking, I find that most things are better left unsaid. My emotional weather can change in a heartbeat, and it is so very true: what has been said can never be unsaid. You cannot unring a bell, and saying that you are sorry does not take away the pain that you cause someone else.
There are times when the passion of the moment is what is called for, and I’m working to be better at knowing when those times are. I am always just a little afraid that I’ll come to one of those situations and be left gaping, like a fish out of water, desperately trying to breathe (speak). What needs to be said will almost always find its way out. I’m sure, though, that there are many who would like me to make that moment sooner rather than later.