Posted in Learning

Choke

Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.

Sylvia Plath

This is a short, vulnerable, post. But I have to start somewhere.

I have tried to update this blog a lot of times since July. There are no less than 5 unpublished drafts of posts on different things saved on this site that I’ve never seemed to be able to finish. Posts about the Charleston shooting, about being a foreigner, about the problems of entanglement and detachment. Some of them are even completed. But I keep stuttering over the publish button. Because I can’t make them cohesive. I can’t make them fit. I can’t give them the solutions and clean edges that they need.

Communication has always been one of my gifts. The ability to put a feeling into words. When I started this blog, a fellow intern told me she found it a blessing because I was saying all the things she didn’t know how to say. Now I don’t know how to say any of these things either. I open my mouth and I choke.

The past couple months, I have gone from an intern group of 5 down to 2. I went from sharing all the things that needed to be done in the office between 5 people, to doing them alone. (The other fellow serving with me was working on an independent project and wasn’t involved in our office’s casework.) With much more to be done, and much less people to talk about it with, even as new interns have arrived, I realize I have slipped into a pattern of silence. I don’t have the words for things, I can’t be as empathetic, as understanding as I want to be, they are vulnerable and I am cold. The CSA team talks to me, and are willing to bare their fears and worries about work to me, to show their hurt. But I find myself unable to do the same.

I’ve never been one for silence, but now I’ve tasted it, and realized its strange, self-reinforcing momentum. Once you stop being totally open, about how you feel, what you’re thinking, even what happened that day, you find yourself stuck there. Every time you choke on your own words, you are less able to spit them out the next time.It starts as a decision “ah, she doesn’t need to know that.” but very quickly becomes, “now I want to tell her, I want her to know, but I don’t how to explain, because there’s so many little things I haven’t told her.”

Secretiveness, I have experienced it, is not a cowardice, or a conscious choice, as much as its a bad habit.

Now this is not to say I have even been even an ounce less of my extroverted, outgoing, chatty self. If anything, the past month or two I have been even more social, active, and friendly. My reticence has not affected the fiery, gregarious part of my personality, but the vulnerable, introspective part. Now I sit across from a good friend at coffee and she asks hard questions and instead of having easy, honest, life-giving conversations, I stutter.

So I will finish these blog posts, but they will be maybe more messy than they have been. But I will try. I will publish these stuttering drafts because if I want to be able to truly speak, I have to fight through the stutters first. Soon I will be headed home, and if I want people to know what it was like, I have to be able to tell them. So bare with me people, I’ll give it my best.

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