We never talked. I mean never talked. Scarcely more than the check-out clerk at the gas station: “How are you?” “Fine.” “Good.” “Have a nice day.” I know some people might envy that statement, but I could have used some more words growing up. If I had spoken more maybe my head wouldn’t be so crowded. Or maybe there’s less in there than I think. It’s very possible no one was interested in what I had to say. And that’s a lot of my mess. I think A LOT! Too much. (I suppose I have to “talk” to somebody). I question and figure for hours. Juggle options, research, and rethink. Stare. Until I snap out of it, and decide none of its worth the anxiety and headache I just created. Delete.
I experience impairments for having rarely spoken. Like decisions. This is a biggy. “What do you want to do?” “Where do you wantto go?” “How do you like your eggs?” No clue. I just go, do, and eat behind someone else — for as long as I can remember. Another example is talking on the phone. My mind goes completely blank, like my conversation skills are being recorded and monitored for quality assurance purposes.
It’s growing old not ever getting comfortable in me, and I’m being forced to face it. As a young girl in the 70’s I thought it was normal not requiring an opinion. My go-to answer to most every question was an automated smile, and a cheery, “I don’t care”. When I grew up, got married, had three daughters…that became harder to do. Still, any personal (what do you want on your burger?) option morphed into feelings of urgency: everybody’s waiting, all eyes are on you, hurry, times up.
What should be easy decisions trigger intense pressure. Hence; my ability to think, or heaven help me decide, is like getting ketchup out of a bottle. This can be very challenging for my husband, who travels at the speed of light and is really uncomfortable with silence.
The good news is my great capacity to sit, think, and write for hours. So I wonder…was it best that I never learned the art of conversation? Nah. That’s a lazy self-reducing answer. Let’s just say good news is good news.
The bad news is I’ve never liked myself enough to give myself a say. I haven’t offered the room, time, or respect for me I would never dare withhold from you. By some sinister misunderstanding — lack of words has meant lack of meaning. And it’s time to stop giving myself the silent treatment.