the water got high and she never got dry

Friday, February 03, 2006

i hear my voice and it’s been here


I’ve been a tongue biter all my life. From hesitating to ask a question or second-guessing the accuracy of my answers to not complaining when I'm not crazy about the way the stylist cut my hair, I am struck mute at the most inconvenient of times.

And I know there are a handful of people who exited our brief acquaintance thinking of me as the quietest, most boring person they’ve ever met. At big parties I fade into the background, just a “nobody girl with a radar to the scene”. Although it’s definitely not as bad as that cheesy Buffy episode.

It’s not that I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. But in a world filled with extroverts, it’s very easy for me to be drowned out and it’s only with certain people that I can be totally comfortable with and talk a blue streak with. A friend of mine in high school wrote me in as “Most outgoing” in her yearbook. We met through mutual friends and in that domain I had no reason to be quiet and retiring.

I thought of all this because of the immense amount of socializing that went on in Palm Springs and how shy and awkward I felt at one big party, surrounded as I was by friends and strangers who excel at the art of mingling and schmoozing and effortless small talk. Or the people next to me on the plane who shared their life stories over the course of three hours. Divorce, alcoholism, career woes, they laid it all out. This is so foreign to me.

And I thought of how when I’m with the Boy, I never feel shy or awkward or boring or too quiet. “We can talk or not talk for hours.” And I think of how this was true from the very first moment I met him. I always clam up with strangers, but with him I was so comfortable from the start.

I still bite my tongue. I’ve realized that when it comes to my feelings, I do this because I devalue both my emotions (telling myself they’re irrational or that it’s ridiculous for me to feel that way) and the ability of the other person to deal with them (assuming they’ll think I’m irrational or neurotic instead of being accepting and supportive, even if they don’t agree or understand.) And sure, I chalk some of this up to the horrible communication I had with the ex-boy, but I’m not blaming that relationship for everything. I’ve also got years of hurt that I wasn’t able to express at the time.

My dad’s drinking and anger were the primary sources of hurt in my childhood and it was rare that I could turn to either of my parents for solace or comfort. And that taught me to keep my mouth shut. That pain is something to be dealt with alone. A pattern that has been years in the making is a bitch to undo, but I’m sure as hell trying to be louder.

holding your breath again
you're holdin' on, holdin' on
i can feel it
holding your breath again
someday you're gonna have to let it go

say that you would, say you will
say all the things that you never could
say what you want, say what you feel
tell it to me like that, tell it to me light,
tell it to me right
could you tell it to me real this time
-abra moore

4 Old Comments:

What a lovely, lovely post. I suspect that your voice will be heard more. I'm one of the talkers, so it is interesting to hear about what it's like to be out from the other side.

By Blogger NML, at 5:58 AM  

Hey! I found you through Serially Single (I think). I can definitely relate to a lot of what you write!

By Blogger sassafras, at 8:45 AM  

i totally relate to you--sometimes i even feel like i shouldn't even bother expressing myself because i don't have anything worthwile or witty to say. i'm getting a little bit more extroverted now (but people would still consider me quiet, and i guess i always will be) but it's hard. anyways, welcome back!

By Blogger Sub Girl, at 2:04 PM  

Thanks, ladies, and hi sassafras, always nice to see a new face.

By Blogger felicity, at 6:09 PM