In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Practice Makes Perfect?.”
Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a talent but I would love to possess the gift of gab. I could be a social butterfly. I could be eloquent and graceful at parties. Public speaking would be a cinch and when I delivered them I wouldn’t feel like throwing up. I could ace job interviews and make wonderful first impressions. And somehow I think the gift of gab would help to make me a better writer.
If only I weren’t so quiet. Perhaps it’s not the gift of gab I desire so much but more to be an extrovert, and if not an extrovert then at least an introvert who could pull off acting the extrovert. (Would that make me a magician or a hypocrite?) I don’t know why I waste my energies dreaming to be something I’m not, and besides it’s probably a trait you’re either born with or not. I’m almost confident, that to be the case because as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a quiet person. Often this made me feel like a weirdo.
Most of the time I just don’t know what to say, after the courteous, “Hello” and “How are you?” It’s always been this way, and I’m at a loss as to why. Was I born this way or did I learn to become this way as a result of my environment? The later could ring true since my childhood was a little dysfunctional. The only way to know for sure, would be to press the rewind button of life and to be “born-again” into another family. That ain’t happening.
I’ve often wondered if my quietness were the result of growing up with a speech impediment. I was a professional stutterer growing up; add a lump of shyness into the mix and the two make for a distasteful recipe.
It was a struggle to get anything out of my mouth. More often than than not, I gave up in frustration only to keep everything inside. The world was going on all around me and I was but a spectator. It made me feel like a nobody.
After a while, this feeling became the constant in my life. It followed me everywhere I went. I guess, you could say, it became my “natural.”
I’m confused, I thought natural was supposed to feel comfortable. Shouldn’t natural feel like a warm cup of coffee, a favorite book or the well worn shoes you walk around in throughout your day? My natural felt nothing of the sort. It was more like a jagged piece sand in a shoe that didn’t fit. If only I could learn to make a pearl.
Quiet is painful. Silence is painful. I fear that awkward dead silence that frequents my conversations. I fear it so much, I desperately try to cover it with words…any words, and most of the time it’s the wrong words. You see, I have this nifty sack of words that I throw over my shoulder for such occasions. I carry the heavy load every where I go, so when moments like these presents itself, I reach inside, grab a handful, and randomly sling words, of any kind, into the conversation.
The flip side of this dilemma… it can be quite hilarious for the innocent bystander watching such a scene unfold. I guess it’s a good thing to be able to make others laugh. It was my privilege to perform in such play, many years ago.
Picture it: I’m eighteen years old, I’m at the gym, and I’m minding my own “quiet” business. Happily, in my own little world, I’m running on the treadmill, doing what’s good for my body and my psyche. I’m sweating, I’m huffing, I’m puffing, and hurting like hell but it feels good. I’m in a safe place and I don’t have to talk. Until a young man sauntered up to my treadmill and began to speak.
When I saw his mouth open I became as a deer in headlights. My tummy lurched, my heart jumped into my throat and the only thing I could think of was, “Throw some words…throw some words…oh my god, throw some words!” With that thought, I mentally reached into my bag of words grabbed the first few and slung them at his open mouth. The mental exertion proved too much for my limited dainty graces, and so, with the toss of those words, I successfully tossed my body off the treadmill. I’ve always been quite athletic so instinct kicked in and I grabbed for the railing to break my fall. At that moment everything stopped except to the runway that kissed my knees. And what a passionate kiss it was! It was definitely a kiss and tell moment! The proof ran red down my legs. After that day I saw the gentleman, here and there, around the gym, but he never tried to talk to me again. In fact, he never even looked in my direction.
Today, thirty years later, my social abilities have advanced. I try to choose my words with a little more finesse. I’ve learned the art of deep breathing and have mastered the ability to laugh at myself. On the whole I do quite well, and I presume, most of whom I meet, haven’t a clue about the struggles within.
However, every once in a while I slip back into the girl who slipped off the treadmill.
Meh…it’s not the end of the world…it just keeps life interesting.