Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Express Yourself, Don't Wreck Yourself

It's a fact that people might not be aware of if you haven't met me in person - I'm not all that great at expressing myself verbally. I come across more eloquently in text (At least I hope I do). I know I certainly try to appear that way. Face-to-face my true nature is uncomfortably noticeable.

I have a habit of saying stuff then later wondering why the hell I said it, I often share information that I'm pretty sure the person I'm speaking to doesn't really care to hear. I'm overly honest even when that's probably a stupid thing to do. To top it off- I stutter and it worsens when I'm flustered or nervous so while I can get the words out I end up saying them three or four times before I'm sure I've said them right.

Sometimes the words end up car crashing entirely in my mouth and I have to take a breath and have another run at them. Everything always tries to come barreling out at top speed like I'll forget what I wanted to say if I take the time to get each word out correctly. Which inevitably makes things worse.

There are situations where I don't make quite so much of a mess when I'm speaking - usually when I'm talking to family and close friends I can express myself without mangling everything into an incoherent jangle of syllables. But around new people I'm usually far quieter or I won't really speak at all just so I don't embarrass myself by stuttering something stupid.

I'll admit I mentally rehearse things to say, I'll daydream whole conversations for situations that may never happen just in case I may one day have a need to say those words. It doesn't always help. I mentioned in my post before last about how I saw two writerly people I know from twitter while I was out but couldn't muster up the courage to say hello. Part of why I didn't is because I was worried they would think I was intruding but another was that I wasn't confident that I could introduce myself without stuttering and stumbling my way into utter mortification.

One of the more unfortunate types of situations that I notice myself struggling to speak like a sane human is when I meet authors at signings. I seem to be unable to make sensible comments while getting books signed and have on several occasions blathered random shit that I've later regretted so much that I've mentally banned myself from saying anything should I meet that author again.

I don't tend to ask authors about their books while getting them signed, mostly because my memory is usually a shambles so I don't want to look like an idiot by remembering something wrongly and asking a ridiculous question. This leaves me with either standing there in awkward silence or gushing incoherently about how much I enjoyed the book/admire the author which I never want to do even if I am internally fangirling like hell. Which is how I always seem to end up rambling about something wholly unconnected with anything relevant to the situation at hand.

Here on the internet I can hide my difficulties behind careful constructions of words and sentences, spend hours typing, deleting and retyping my thoughts until they properly represent what my brain is trying to say. It's often far easier to "say" things on paper than it is to shape the sounds and throw them out into the air. My throat holds onto the words that it's scared to give voice to, no matter how much I may *need* to say them, once they're spoken they can't be crammed back into my mouth like they never existed. In writing it doesn't quite feel like the thoughts are real which makes them less scary to type I guess.

I'm sure I'm not entirely alone in these feelings and anxiety about expressing myself. Other people might find speaking aloud a breeze and instead quiver at the thought of writing about themselves. For some music or art are the only ways they can accurately express what they are feeling as words both spoken and scribbled are simply inadequate. It's just a matter of discovering what best suits you.

I'm still trying to figure that out for myself, but writing is what feels most comfortable for now. Even though I don't always feel like I'm all that good at this whole business of stringing sentences together into a cohesive narrative. I suppose I need more practice.


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.