Without a voice.

So, something occurred to me today.  I had never given a large amount of thought to what it’s like to be mute in society built for people who speak and hear.  I’ll never really understand, because it’s not something I live with every day, but for better part of the last week, I’ve had no voice.

And no one seems to know how to communicate with me.

I can see, and I can hear, I just don’t have a voice.  I’ve carried a notebook and a marker so that I can write things that require more than a yes, or a no, or the point of a finger.

The waiter at Chili’s thought it was funny that I wrote everything down, but he really didn’t seem to mind that I couldn’t talk to him.  My doctor (the one treating the loss of my voice–if you’ve never had to have an anti-inflammatory shot for your voice box, be glad–did pretty well, he struggled a bit, because he was asking questions faster than I could write down my answers, but for the most part, he did fine.

My boss has enjoyed that I can’t speak because I can’t argue with him or speak to him at all, everything he’s gotten has been nods of the head or hand motions, and that’s fine with him.  I work third shift and only deal with people for the last two hours that my store is open.  Most of my co-workers have just rolled with the fact that I can’t talk.  But the customers? They have no idea what to do.

They’ve reacted in a million ways, and rarely have they been positive. Some of them get angry and tell me I shouldn’t be there because I’m no good to them, even though I’m still more than able to listen to what they need and show them how to get it.  Some of them been irritated, but mostly willing to deal with me.  And some of them have been downright hateful, throwing their hands up and walking away from me.

My boss has gotten complaints from people all week, saying I shouldn’t be allowed to work in customer service if I can’t speak to customers, or questioning why I’m not being sent home because obviously I must be sick.

And I can’t help but wonder what it’s like for people that live this way every day.

I wrote a piece once, called ‘Building for (Dis)Ability’, about deaf people living in a world that isn’t designed for the way them communicate.  I thought a lot about people that cannot see or hear, in doing my research for that piece.  But, I never thought about people that can’t speak.

It’s horribly inconvenient and I have so much more empathy for people living without their voices.

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Death, a friend.

I’ve never been good at small-talk.  Not ever.  I don’t talk about the weather or about any other surface level things.  I like to talk about the hard stuff.

Politics.  Death.  Dying.  Love.  Hate.  Anger.

The things that hurt.  The things that make people angry.  The things that make people think, that make them angry, or sad.

Death is one of my favorite things to talk about, my favorite thing to think about or write about.  But that makes me strange, I think.  People don’t know how to take me, or the way I talk about death.

Death and I have an understanding, of sorts.  She knows that when she comes for me, I will go with her, without a word or a fight.  On that day, and only then, we will go, side by side, like old friends.  Until then, she taunts me, claiming those I love and popping up every time I close my eyes.

Why is death so hard for people?

It’s just the end of the story.

The Artist’s Fear

In a class today, we were talking about the types of artists and the way that they view themselves and things like that, and something came up that caught my attention.

Someone said that a large part of being an artist is fear.

Someone else immediately went on to invalidate what was said on the grounds that fear isn’t something only artists feel. Which is true.  But our class descended into a major debate about it anyway.

So, here’s my take.  An artist is, in my mind, any person who creates something out of nothing. I specifically, am a writer.  I also play music and paint, but above and before all else I am a writer. And as a writer, there is a huge part of me that is afraid.

Afraid of being vulnerable. Afraid of being too much.  Afraid of not being good enough.

Our class is full of artists, and there aren’t any two of us that do the same thing, for the most part.  But when it got to me, the professor (If you read my first entry, it’s the woman I decided to just call K) asked for my take.

And I felt like I was going to vomit.

Now, let’s preface this with the fact that there are only two writers in our class.  I am a writer, and K is a writer.  That’s almost an insult, putting her and I in the same category.  She’s brilliant, I told you before that she’s one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, but her brilliance is most noticeable in her writing.

And I had to explain, sitting next to this brilliant woman, that as a writer, my greatest fear is handing a piece of my soul to someone like her–someone I admire and look up to in so many ways–and having her tell me it isn’t enough.

I can handle being criticized, it’s a part of doing what I do, of being who I am. But there is something different about handing it to someone you know and love, someone you have such tremendous respect for, and letting them see you bare.

And when I write, that’s what I am.  There is next to nothing that I write that doesn’t leave some part of me exposed.

Fear is a big part of being a writer, of being an artist. And I just needed to share this.

Faith is hard.

Faith means believing in something that you cannot see, cannot touch, cannot prove. When you have faith, you hear his voice in the world around you, through the moments of joy and the moments of pain.  You feel him in the world around you.  You feel him in the rain on your skin and the sun on your face.  You see him in clouds, among the stars, and in the faces of every person you pass.

Faith isn’t concrete, it isn’t steady or perfect or constant.

Faith is hard.

When the world seems like it’s falling apart around you, when everything that you believe in is broken, and everything you thought you knew is wrong, faith will lift you up. If you let it. But you have to let it.

Faith wavers.  When you’re alone, with tears in your eyes and unbearable weight on your shoulders, it’ll vanish.  You’ll scream and you’ll cry and you’ll curse His name.  And he won’t hold that against you.  He will not respond with anger or punishment.  You can sink to your knees in your front yard and scream until you lose your voice. You can curse with every word you know and send your hate to him on the wind.

But he will not respond with anger. No matter what you say, he will not punish you,or  blame you.  He will not think less of you for your moment of weakness. In that moment, he will find a way to touch you. A way to show you that he has not forsaken you.

He will stop the rain or change the song or send you an angel.  In some way that will reach you, will resonate with you alone, he will touch you.

When you sink to your knees, broken and alone, he will kneel before you and take your hands.  He will pray with you and fight for you and he will not rise until you rise with him.

Faith is hard, because it cannot be touched, or proven.  It is not concrete or perfect.

But faith, can move the mountains that doubt builds.

And sometimes, it’s all we have.

Hello, I’m L.

I thought it best to introduce myself, so that I’m a little bit more than just the person sitting behind the computer screen.

I’m not sure how this usually works, this blogging thing, but I thought it might be best if I introduce myself, so that I’m a little bit more than just the person sitting behind the computer screen.

You can call me L. I look like this.

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I’m a fiction writer and third year Journalism student with an honors distinction.  Presently I spend most of my time writing, working, attending classes, and working on my capstone project, which I must say, is the single most terrifying thing I have ever had to do.

Right now, the piece that I’m working is about a girl that wants to stop running.  It’s a favorite of a good friend, and at her request, I keep writing so that she can keep reading.  It’s taking an unusual twist and I’m not quite sure what the main character will do next.  Which, if I’m honest, is sort of thrilling and terrifying all at once.

Currently, and for the last 597 days, I am working third shift for a company that I love and even if I’m not doing what I love, I look forward to going to work every night.

I entered college three years ago with every intention of studying Spanish, and after a semester or two of hating myself, I asked Mother Maniacal (My wonderful mother) what I should change my major to. This woman has supported me my whole life and always been there for me when I needed her, without question or care. But in that moment, she looked at me like I had just sprouted three heads and given birth to kittens. She said “L, what kind of dumb question is that?” And I had no answer, obviously.  So she sat down next to me and said, “You love to write.  You write every day, about everything.  Why wouldn’t you go to school and study something that you love?” And the rest is, as they say, history.

Now, I’m in my third year and starting my capstone project.  Did I mention it’s terrifying?  It’s called ‘Caricaturized, Dying, or Actually straight: The under and misrepresentation of Gay and Lesbian Characters in Film.’ Does it sound a little more terrifying now? It should.

But, I’ll tell you all about it another day.

Goodnight.