Life Lessons: A wordy post on being speechless

posted on: Dienstag, 4. Februar 2014

However much I love photography or music or art, there is always that one thing that I would choose over every way of creative expression in the world: Words.

I have been a lover of words for as long as I can remember. I have been a writer as soon as I was able to scribble the first crooked letters with a pen on paper. I wrote into agendas and my homework planner, first mostly stories about girls and their ponies, later tales of big adventures, great feelings and far away worlds. There were short stories, diary entries, novel excerpts, and even poetry about loss and life and how unfair the world seemed to a pubescent 13 year old. When I first set foot into my hometown`s newspaper editorial office I was shaking from the excitement that someone would actually be willing to pay me for something that I would have been more than happy to do for free.

My ability to deal with words has kept me company throughout the years. When in fifth grade my teacher gave me the opportunity to write a play for the school choire (and I like to think that nowadays, almost 15 years later, people in my school are still whispering awestruck of the literary genius that gave the world "Franzi in Wonderland"). When my math grades spiraled downwards, but I always knew that I had great strength elsewhere. When my emotions keeled over but I could put them back in order on a piece of paper and suddenly things did not seem so bad.

{But now I am in Italy and here I experience something that I have not felt in a very, very long time: I am speechless.}

I have no words. Literally. I don’t speak this language. I couldn’t if I wanted to. Bound to shut up. And I don’t like it.

Today I walked home with a Spanish boy and his English was more or less non-existent. We talked mostly Italian with a little bit of English and Spanish in the mix, we laughed and where we lacked words we used hands and feet. It works, somehow. But it feels so far from me. The ,Me' that usually has a funny story to tell or a comeback in store. And I honestly never realized how important this reassurance was for me. Suddenly I feel insecure. Naked, sort of. Amputated. I smile and nod my head and feel half.

But maybe that is exactly what was supposed to happen. Because how often does one open their mouth not because we urgently want to say something, but because we want to cover up silence that sits so uncomfortably between two people. Not because there is the need to speak, but our need to present ourselves in a certain light. Sadly, I am guilty in probably both of these cases. And some more.

So what do I take from this lesson? That talking is silver and shutting up is gold? That would be too simple. But I learn gratitude for the ability to express myself, for the written word and spoken language. I realize how much effort it takes to feel at ease with them. I know how big of a part they have become. That I should put this ability to use in the right way. 

Even if a 568 words article on being speechless probably misses the point.  

1 Kommentare:

  1. nein, nein. du hast die sprachlosigkeit perfekt gefasst und ich bewundere dich dafür, denn auf englisch wäre ich wohl nie in der lage, eine gedankenlinie derart präzise und gefühlvoll zu verfolgen. ich mag deine worte, weil sie kritisch und zugleich so eine schöne liebeserklärung an die sprache sind. und ich kann die hilflosigkeit so gut fassen, als stnde ich selbst da. (neulich, mit den französischen künstlern, oh weh. mein gebrochenes französisch war mehr lustig als hilfreich.) wenn ich vor der entscheidung stände, ich würde ebenfalls die worte wählen, denke ich. selbst wenn ich nicht glaube, dass mein besonderes talent in ihnen liegt. aber sie können soviel und soviel präziser treffen als die anderen schönen künste. aber das ist nur ein erster impuls, vielleicht irre ich mich. vor dem einschlafen werde ich weiter darüber nachdenken.. merci+gute nacht.


you make me a very happy blogger.