3 minutes reading time
Spoken communication can be likened the ocean, each word a stone or shell upon its floor. Waves wash and roll, tossing these stones within reach, and most of the time they are a short dip away. It comes naturally. However, often without cause, the tide comes in and the stones are submerged. The distance to touch them feels insurmountable.
It is as if I am swimming deeper and deeper until my lungs hurt, trying desperately to reach those stones – any stones. I could continue to swim if I had no choice; I could force myself. However, the pressure builds up further and further and continuing seems unbearably taxing. I feel as if I’ll never reach it.
Sometimes, I snatch a pebble that is easier to reach. Instead of saying I am frightened by the flashing lights or I am upset because someone touched me – I will say “loud”. Invariably, people ask more questions but my replies will consist of only this word, “loud, loud loud”. At other times, the tide has come in so far that I choose not to say anything at all. I am frightened by the idea of swimming further.
It isn’t that I can’t speak – it is that it feels further away than I am willing to reach.
I was brought up in a world where speech is considered the most important aspect of human interaction but I have drawn this comparison to illuminate my point. Though I can speak at any given time – this does not always mean that I should. There is more that can be said than what can be spoken aloud.
When I find it challenging to speak it is not because I have no thoughts or I do not know the right words or enough words. My mind stills screams what I want to say and I simply require a different method of expression.
Even now, I am sharing more than I could if had I said this aloud – to more people than could be found in a room.
Falling mostly to the opposite side of the speaking spectrum, I am not nonspeaking or an unreliable speaker. Often it is difficult to halt the torrent of words pouring from me. Delight can be found in searching for the perfect way to express myself, a specific adjective that captures my exact thoughts. I find joy in speaking – especially about topics of interest. There is giddy pleasure in swimming in these pools of words but it no longer embarrasses me that I don’t always feel able to do this.
I find pleasure in communicating in other ways.
There are days where it is better and more joyful to write on the shore (continuing my earlier metaphor), to draw, sign and type instead of speaking.
I ask that those people who see these alternate methods of conversing do not find it evokes sympathy and that those who do know me are not unduly concerned. I can speak without saying anything aloud.
My apologies to those people who follow me for strictly informative works. This was a more personal piece than usual. Thank you for reading!
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Reblogged this on Autism Candles.