I Know When to Talk
There is a very painful scene in the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse in which the main character, Dawn, is asked to read her essay on ‘dignity’ in front of her 7th grade class. She begins to read and is told repeatedly, like 4 or 5 times by the teacher: ‘Speak up! louder!! We can’t hear you!’ I felt this scene because I have gone through it in my own way countless times in my life.
I have probably the quietest speaking voice you will ever hear, and people usually struggle to understand what I say. This was not fun in school, and it still bothers me to this day. Sometimes I practically scream and I still cannot be heard or understood.
This movie hit close to home for me, except maybe I think I was Dawn in high school, instead of middle school. I was the dorky outcast who ate lunch by herself and was mercilessly teased every day by the same tireless people. It was just that bad. I cannot imagine ever going back to that time and how tortured I felt. Of course now I can look back and think how silly it all was. but everything at that age is so serious and so life or death. That’s when the melodramatic poetry starts coming out, and your paranoia gets way out of control.
I had an overly active imagination as a teen, and lived for fantasy and just being alone in my own head. It was hard to let people in. I felt they didn’t understand and no one could relate to me. I was going through the same adolescent years as all my peers, but for some reason I felt I was not having even the slightest bit of the same experience they all were.
Being a soft-spoken person does not go over well. it allows people to feel they can talk over you, discount what you’re saying. I think speaking is a lot like writing, I don’t do it unless I have something to say. And it’s an act of courage every time you open your mouth to speak or put words down for another person to read.
You open yourself up to judgment, or the possibility that you will be misunderstood, shunned, or even ignored (which has happened to me). I don’t like people who interrupt, who talk for the sake of talking, who feel the need to fill every silence with words, and who cannot stop to think before they speak. I speak when I have something to say. (It’s like smiling when you have a reason to, not because you are told to).
I write when I don’t think anyone can stand or sit still long enough to hear all that I need to pour forth from my heart, or if there is something to say that is uniquely mine that needs to find it’s form in the written word. When you write, the journal won’t stop you or interrupt you, talk over or smirk at you, ignore you, or pretend to listen to you while it just stares on.
Title of this post is from the Garbage song, The World is Not Enough
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