As I’ve mentioned, I’m a writer and I like to tell stories. I’m just not so good at the whole verbally telling stories thing. Actually, I’m not good at talking in general. I tend to include a lot of unnecessary “um’s” and repeat myself. I fumble my words and forget what I am trying to say halfway through saying it. Sometimes, I can’t think of anything to say in response to conversation which leads to an uncomfortable amount of silence before I ultimately reply with the generic responses: “hmmm, that’s interesting” or “oh, really?”. Thus, my inability to form eloquent sentences coupled with the fact that I am soft-spoken and my voice has the pitch of an eight-year-old child does not lead to effective communication on my part. I tend to keep silent a lot.
When I write I am free of these communication restrictions. There’s pressure on conversation that doesn’t exist with the written word. I feel like if I have something to say, I can say it best through my writing. This doesn’t bode well for the reality where verbal communication is a fundamental life skill. I feel like after the tenth graceless conversation with someone who knows I am a writer I have to say, “I promise, I write better than I speak!” I sometimes feel like my impaired oral communication skills reflect poorly on my cognitive development. Even though I can’t get my words out right, I do know how to use language effectively. So sometimes I live on the pages of my stories where ironically enough, dialogue is one of my strengths. I thrive on the words that I write down, their meaning clear and concise even if it took me three tries to get there. I feel like I have an actual voice when I write. And as the semester is coming to a close and pages upon pages of final papers are due, I am finally saying everything my teachers won’t hear. In writing my novel, I feel like I am trying to speak to the world, speak to my readers, or just put my words out there to make up for the twenty-four years that I’ve been quiet.
Verbal communication is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately–something I feel I need to improve on–especially with graduation fast approaching and the door to the real world almost within reach. Perhaps this post is partially a declaration to anyone who has ever heard me speak that I’m not as senseless as I sound. Perhaps this is in defense of anyone who struggles with articulating speech. Regardless, my words are out there and I’m being heard.