Sometimes, I can’t speak. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try or how much I want them to, the words just can’t come out of my mouth. It’s like I have a head full of thoughts and opinions I want to express but sometimes, a lot of the time, I can’t physically get the words to come out of my mouth.
It feels like some invisible hand appears out of thin air and clamps itself around my mouth so that I can’t speak or breath or do anything but just sit there clenching my teeth, waiting for it to let go and allow me to talk again.
I can’t stand it.
I guess it all stems down to the fear of being judged by people for what I say, the fear of saying something wrong and being humiliated. The fear of putting my opinions out there and making myself vulnerable to criticism and mockery. But when I try to speak, and I find I can’t, these fears aren’t going through my head, not like they used to. I’m not scared of talking to new people or public speaking anymore, I just. Can’t. Get. The. Words. Out.
This is probably why I come across to people as being painfully shy, when really it’s not as bad as they think. Although I still struggle to speak even around my closest friends and family, it’s not so bad as they know me, they know how to make it easier for me to join in with conversations and when to pause to allow me to talk and can tell when I want speak but am struggling to. I can cope with that. Even if they don’t understand exactly, I know they want to talk to me and will take the time to allow me to talk more freely. The problem with being an introvert, or more specifically an INFJ, means that it takes me a very long time to build up friendships with people and feel comfortable around them, or rather it takes people a long time to build up friendships with me because I don’t open up to people often and tend to retreat into myself until I know I can trust them. I suppose sometimes though I do meet people that I just instantly click with, but that is rare.
In class, however, it’s much different to talking to my friends and family. At school, you could get away with just sitting at the back of the class room and not saying much. At college, however, they expect everyone to contribute. Sometimes the tutor will ask a question to the whole class and no one will reply and I can just feel the tutors eyes burning into me like they know I know the answer (which is sometimes the case). This makes the whole hand-clamping-over-mouth thing a thousand times worse. It feels like my voice and words are being physically pushed back into my throat and locked away and with them the chances of me being able to respond to the question, whatever it may be, shrinks and shrinks and shrinks.
Sometimes, I can’t say things that I need to say, no matter how important they are, no matter who I’m saying them to. What’s more, there doesn’t really seem to be a pattern as to when I can’t speak, it just happens whenever when I’m talking to whoever about whatever.
Sometimes, I don’t realise I’ve had one of these episodes of not being able to talk until after it’s happened and I think of all the things I should have said or meant to say but couldn’t, or I just sit there wondering why the conversation ended so abruptly before realising it was because I just lost the ability to talk so the conversation just…stopped.
Perhaps I’ve always been like this, but have only noticed it over the last year or so. Perhaps I’ll always have this problem but eventually just get used to it and stop noticing it. Perhaps I just need to learn to relax more and not pull a part all my little imperfections like this. Perhaps it’s okay to not be able to talk sometimes. Perhaps I’ll never know. Perhaps sometimes I wonder about things too much. Perhaps I’m just a hopeless wonderer…