Wednesday, September 18, 2013

what happens when i don't speak

diana came home with an illness last week.  as often happens, the germ got a grip on me and ander.  we are almost all recovered, but i have a lingering symptom: laryngitis.

it's been instructive to me to pass time without speaking.  whispering only when i absolutely need to, signing (rather ineffectively) with those who can understand it (mostly ander), and writing.  thank goodness for email and texting.

mostly, i've been listening.

and hearing.

and watching.

and noticing.

and responding.  differently.

when one of the kids or steve called for me, i whistled, and they came to find me, rather than yelling across rooms or between floors.  our "conversations" require face-to-face interaction.

i showed more of what i'm feeling in nonverbal ways and exaggerated it to get my idea across.  the kids were picking up more on what they saw rather than heard from my tone of voice.

ander continued to ask me his stream of "why" questions, but started to suggest answers on his own.  longer, more complex answers rather than fragments.  my attentive silence prompted him to continue, rather than cut him short.  he was more willing to go to other family members with spoken requests.  he paid attention when diana read a passage from her book to us and asked her to repeat it for him, then read more.

diana came home from school the past couple of days and sat down and talked with me about the things that happened.  i watched her, nodded, smiled, or frowned in sympathy with her stories.  i interrupted less.  i asked fewer questions than i usually do and i think i may have gotten more answers that way, certainly more about what she was interested in sharing.

i played over and over a particular symphonic cinema remix of the song i recorded as part of eric whitacre's virtual choir 4.  instead of singing along, as i might have done, i simply listened.  i'm certain i would have missed the nuances of the orchestration if i even been humming along.

a friend told me about a woman who "fasts from talking" once a month.  i did not stop speaking this day by my choice, but out of my experience comes a realization that i want to deliberately explore more.

i like what happens when i don't speak.


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