I am now on Day Six of Voicelessness and starting to feel like a representative of oppressed peoples everywhere. It is very frustrating not to have one’s voice heard. Every time I have something to say, I am unable to say it.
Like much related to our health and well-being, we tend to take for granted the fact that we can speak and only realise how much talking we do until we can no longer do it.
Periodically, my voice goes – and goes completely. The first time it happened was when I was in college. I was studying Theatre and it was two days before a show, in which I had rather a lot of lines. Thankfully, my voice was only MIA for about 24 hours, so the show went ahead as planned, instead of as a mime.
A few years later, when I was living in London, my voice went again. This time, it was gone for three days. At the time, I was working in Knightsbridge – as a receptionist! It tickled me that my situation would give people rise to thinking that mine was an extreme equal-opportunities employer. On the second day of voicelessness, I was sent home and told to pop by the doctor on my way.
The last time I lost my voice was about five years ago, and it was only gone for three days. At the time, my children were only three and a half years and 18 months old respectively. It upset them that their mother wasn’t talking to them and it pained me to see the look of confusion on my youngest daughter’s face when her mum wouldn’t speak to her.
I have never been without my voice for this long. My children are older and taking it in their stride. My eldest is enjoying being my spokesperson; preceding me into shops and telling people on tills that ‘my mum’s not being rude, she just can’t speak’. For my youngest, on the other hand, the shine has completely gone off my silence. She’d just like her mum back to normal.
Personally, I’m fed up of my own silence as well. I am restricted by it. When the phone rings – I have no choice but to let it ring, something which goes against my nature!
I am also quite stifled by the fact that quick replies and exchanging pleasantries with neighbours and parents at the school is beyond my ability at the moment. Popping in next-door for a coffee and a chat – something I did regularly – is another pleasure denied me at the moment.
I have realised how much speaking I do normally. Comments, responses, suggestions, observations – and I’m well known for talking to the radio. (My children have given up telling me that the radio cannot hear me!)
Of course, I always have pen and paper within arm’s reach, so I am always able to write my words even if I can’t speak them. Having a conversation on paper, however, is very tiring. I find that I can’t write legibly quickly enough to have a fluid chat – and that I distill much of what I would have said if I could speak into as few words as possible in order to keep up the pace of the exchange.
I’m bored, now, of not being able to talk. I’d like my voice back.
(Photo Credit: Darren Robertson)