Why do I write so much? Honestly, because in conversation, I can’t get a word in edgeways. It seems I still have that deficit in spoken language, which has always been a source of immense frustration. I know I speak slowly, my expression quite monotonous. I am slow to formulate what I want to say too, and by the time I have found the words with which to bring ideas to life, the conversation has already moved on.
I confess that I have long been irritated by the interruptions which come in the middle of a stream of thought. People always respond, “I thought you had finished.” I guess I live my life in slow motion. Recently I have found myself increasingly impatient with those interruptions. Or perhaps I have just become more assertive in responding to them. A few times at work recently I’ve just come out and said it: “Please don’t interrupt me. I know I speak slowly, but you’ll just have to accommodate me, because this is important.”
These are one-to-one training sessions, when their understanding depends on them paying attention. But in team meetings, it is absolutely hopeless. My manager frequently cuts me off, charging off with a thought while I’m still trying to get my first word out. As for my update: I am sure all of my colleagues think I’m an imbecile, wondering how on earth I rose to this grade, so unable to communicate my current projects without stuttering and fading away.
Sometimes that agitation flares up with an eruption of rage. I had one this very morning, while attempting to give my son clear instructions for some jobs I wanted him to do in the garden. Regrettably, his sister was the recipient of my full unrestrained wrath, when she jokingly interrupted with her silly commentaries. “Why are you shouting?” she begged of me, which was a fair question, for my anger was disproportionate. But such is the level of frustration my verbal communication skills cause. It winds me up, and always has.
For years I wondered what was wrong with me. Of course, now I know. My body does not naturally produce, or produces very little, of the hormone responsible for so much of our neurological development. Hence delays in my grasp of expressive language in that all important early period of my life, when children’s synapses are forming connections exponentially. In truth, I cannot express myself at all as I can with the written word. It’s not that I’m mute, or speech impaired. It’s just that I cannot articulate myself as lucidly as I can with typing fingers.
Hence a blog filled with all the things I might have said, had conversations not been too fast paced or impatient for me. Here the thoughts I might have expressed, had we been able to sit down for conversation. Here everything I might have said, had my mind not gone blank mid-thought, those memory blackouts weighing down on me. It’s true: in social gatherings I am often the silent one, but not because I have nothing to say. It’s just that I don’t have the toolkit of expressive language with which to say it. So I write it all down instead.