|Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net|
I have a secret.
Actually, it's not really a secret to anyone who knows me personally. But, to anyone reading this who has never met me, this might come as a surprise.
As much as I love words and writing and chatting online, I am very quiet and shy in person. I get extremely nervous when I have to talk, even when I'm talking with people I know well.
I get so nervous that when I was a young girl, I used to wish I was mute -- physically unable to speak -- because then no one would expect me to talk! I wished I could just walk around with a pad of paper and a pencil, communicating with others that way.
Every once in a while, I still wish that. Though now I'd probably choose a laptop instead... :)
For me, the internet has been a really good thing. I can easily share my thoughts and feelings with others online, things that would otherwise stay bottled up inside me.
I have made many friends online with people I never would've met without the internet. Even if I'd come across them in my daily life, I would've been too scared to start up a conversation and get to know them. I would've missed out on so many friendships with so many wonderful people.
Though my difficulty with talking has many disadvantages, it does have a few benefits. Since I spend little time talking myself, that means I spend a lot of time listening to others instead. I believe that listening to people -- really paying attention to what they are saying -- is important. It helps me to better understand others. And people enjoy being heard. :)
I also wonder: if I had spent more time talking throughout my life, would I still be as interested in the written word as I am now? Maybe. Or maybe not. As it is, I am fascinated by words on paper or computer screens, whether I'm reading others' words or writing my own. I like being able to communicate without ever having to make a sound. It's part of what makes me me.
I've been thinking about this subject a lot recently. Ideas for a character who doesn't speak, even though physically able to do so (a condition called "selective mutism"), have been buzzing around my head for awhile now -- the problems such a character could encounter, and how he or she might react to and solve those problems. I definitely could sympathize with such a character. Maybe it's just me, but I think my ideas could create an interesting story for kids. Hopefully, I'll start getting those ideas written down soon -- along with all the other story ideas that are filling up my brain! :)
How about you? Are you a talker, or do you prefer to keep quiet much of the time? What is your favorite way to express yourself?