So, what's your part in this? Who are you?
I was asked by a lovely woman who comes to the meetings I organize for environmental activism in my hometown and lends good and poignant ideas.
Because basically, I'm this random young woman here who put together a group of people and is organizing these meetings and trying to start environmental projects in my town, and she doesn't actually know who I am and where I popped out from all of a sudden.
But when people ask me a question off guard, I cannot properly answer. Heck, even when people ask me a question not off guard, I cannot properly answer.
I have difficulty locating words from my brain while speaking (especially to strangers and to adults). I once read this problem as a characteristic of introvert-ism, and I don't know if that is the case, but I know that this is a problem I have. It makes me feel stupid in the eyes of others; I know what I want to say or what information I have to share, but I can't seem to pull the words out correctly. Sometimes I mess up feminine and masculine in Hebrew, with words that in writing I'd never mistake. I try to talk slowly so that the words will have time to come to the surface and out of my mouth, but sometimes they never come out and then I am left with long pauses I can't seem to fill.
Verbal ability is basic and crucial in our daily lives, but I find myself stumbling through verbality with a lot of frustration.
Despite this obstacle, which has been evident to me for many years, the fields I find most important to immerse myself in are ones which require communicating verbally with many other people. I am knowingly challenging my difficulty, and I feel that the challenge is worth while. It surprises me sometimes that we humans are able to face our fears and do things we believe in despite them.
I have been working in education with children for many years, which I love, but in frameworks that require a lot of talking to adults, too. And recently I decided to put together a group of people in our town interested in getting involved in environmental activism, and I lead these meetings and need to actually talk to people I'm not familiar with, about issues I'm not 100% certain of (being not 100% certain about something strengthens the weakness, by adding the fucked up shade of insecurity to the already claustrophobic words).
I used to say that doing these things works on my Courage muscles, and I used to like to believe that working on those muscles makes them stronger, but their strengthening is slower than I'd always wanted or expected.
It's true that I used to almost faint before having to speak in public, or I had to write out phone conversations word for word before I was able to muster up the courage to dial to someone unfamiliar (and not hang up before they answered), and now I don't feel lightheaded, only nervous, when I need to speak (and I force myself to be in situations in which I need to speak because it's important to me), and I'm able to make phone calls sometimes without planning out every word. But I'm still scared, I'm still insecure, I'm still expecting too much of words that are nestled deeply in my head and nervously hide from other people.
I can write. It's what I do. And I wish I could go through life writing instead of speaking. I wish I could convey ideas and morals through writing, I wish I could convince people of things through writing. But sometimes it seems I just have to make those phone calls, and lead those meetings, and say "Thank you" face to face to people I really want to thank all the time.
Spoken words float out of me slowly.
(Photos from Lithuania last week)