I am losing my will to speak out loud.

I talked in my head as a child and I talked out loud.
I talked in my head as a teenager and when the words made it out, I made sure to sound like the other girls.
I talked in my head in my 20s and I talked at my partners and I never shut up.

I used all the words. All the time. I monologued my rage and my sadness and my despair.

I put people to sleep with the sound of my endless angst and I woke them up again to keep on speaking it.

20 years later and I have so few words to speak out loud.

Maybe I used them all. As if I only had a limited lifetime number and I overdid it with walls of words in my youth so that now, in my 40s, the words from my mouth have dried up.

I am losing my will to speak out loud.

I can say ‘soy flat white please’.
I can say ‘thank you’.

Anything more than that and it takes too much practice to imagine the words over and over before they get to my mouth.

Anything more than that and my throat closes off like there’s a mean lump in it that won’t let the words past.

I push through so no one knows that I am in pain and I kick on my overdrive to make it to the end of the conversation. And when I am safe again in my own space, I fold into a small thing and wait it out until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

Inside my house, I have words for my children, but mostly I listen. I have words for my partner, who has fewer words than me. We grow more silent and it feels right.

At work, on the rare occasions left where I am called upon to speak out loud, I am pretending.

I want to type to talk at work because typing doesn’t hurt and I can think and communicate both at the same time. I don’t say ‘yes’ when I type as a default. I don’t type ‘I understand’, when I don’t. I don’t retreat regretting what came out of my mouth and I don’t spend hours trying to figure out how to undo what I said. Typing gives me much needed pause time, to get it right, to say what I want to say.

If you want to know what I’m thinking, then it’s best that I type it.

I google AAC and special interest on it hard, and make plans and bookmark pages….and then I turn away scared.

How do you find the courage to change the rules of communication when everyone has seen you be one way, and now you want to be another?

I have lost my will to speak out loud.

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