My speech

July 5, 2006

My stuttering, I need hardly say, placed an obstacle between me and the outside world. It is the first sound that I have trouble in uttering. This first sound is like a key to the door that separates my inner world from the world outside, and I have never known that key to turn smoothly in its lock. Most people, thanks to their easy command of words, can keep this door between the inner world and the outer world wide open, so that the air passes freely between the two; but for me this has been quite impossible. Thick rust has gathered on the key.
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Yukio Mishima

I wish I had been the one to write these words because it echoes the struggles of my life. Things are improving for me, but that initial step, that first breath to be pushed through my throat is still a difficult one for me. I’m not sure why people would evolve/be born with such problems. We are not fish living in an environment where sounds don’t matter as much as the other senses. This is an aural and visual world.

My new job is certainly forcing me to be much more vocal than previous jobs. In theatre, you’re trained to remain as quiet as possible backstage so you don’t distract the perfomers, and then working out front you’re trained to stay quiet to keep the lines clear over the headsets. It’s no wonder people are so talkative when they get into the Green Room or to the little soirees after a show. So a life of saying, “Standing By” and listening to cues of whether the focus of a light is proper or not probably isn’t the best life an introverted person could have.

On the flip side of things, answering the phone and dealing with people around a hundred times during an eight hour shift probably isn’t ideal either. But I’m feeling much better now approaching people whether it’s in the lobby or at another business. I should have had a job like this years ago, not when I’m quickly approaching 30.

Because of my new found openess to speech, it’s also getting me into more dangerous situations. I find myself speaking up more about problems in the workplace or in other places (not so much that I’m a jerk about it). For instance, asking someone at Tim Horton’s whether they can start making a sandwich ahead of time before it’s rung through the till – it didn’t work, for the record. She went back there to start making it, only to have the guy running the till go back there and start preparing someone else’s wrap with no one preparing mine. There must have been around six people working there, only myself and the man in front of me in line, and very few cars going by. It still takes nearly 20 minutes to prepare two orders. Maybe I should go work there and whip them into shape.

Having the confidence to speak can only be good for me in the future, and I know my ability to speak will improve as well. Just need more practice.

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