Finding Your Voice

I have a hard time talking. I mean, I can speak. I just have a hard time finding the words and putting them in sentences when I am speaking. I have heard a lot about assistive technology for communication. I don’t need a device to communicate my needs, but I can relate to the feeling of helplessness with communication. I have needed to find my voice many times over my lifetime.

I found that voice in writing. Most of my good friends have been made through letters or texts. I need to write like I need to breathe. I am a very social person, but I struggle with spending time with people because I don’t know how to talk to them. But when I write, I can say everything I need.

I used to get embarrassed by my need to write things down to communicate. I know it is a different way of communicating than most people use these days, and I felt awkward and alone. People just don’t write letters very often anymore. People don’t write messages to put on the wall for people to see. And if they do, it’s usually something cute or important. My messages were just about telling someone how I felt or what I needed. It was the only way I knew how to tell people what was going on with me.

I have become more comfortable with how I communicate now. I know it is different, but I am different, and surprisingly, people understand that. So I encourage you to find your voice if you have trouble communicating your needs to others. Find a way to tell people about you and what you need. And remember that it’s okay to be different. The ones that matter most will understand and love you for it.

 

Advertisements

Grateful for This Blog

This blog has been an amazing place for me. It has been somewhere I can go to understand myself and help others understand me. It has been a refuge when I didn’t know where else to turn in lonely or desperate times. It has given a voice to thoughts I didn’t know how to express. It has given me a reason to keep trying when I felt like nothing I do matters. It has given me a way to communicate with others. It has allowed me to express my feelings and spread awareness.

I am very grateful for this experience. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a voice for change and awareness and education. I am grateful to feel like I have made a difference, even if it has been relatively small.

I am not sure about the future of this blog at the moment. With the changes happening in my life, I am not sure if I will be able to maintain it or keep posting regularly. Whatever the future brings though, I am grateful for the experiences and friends and acquaintances and everything good that has come out of this blog.

Grateful for Texting

Sometimes I find that I cannot speak. I don’t have the words to express myself. It comes out in stuttered short phrases that don’t explain how I really feel. I feel lost, hopeless, and broken.

But with texting I can gain my voice. I can tell you why I’m hurting, and how you can help. I can explain how I feel accurately. I can be honest without feeling pressured.

Life is hard. Socializing is hard. Expressing myself the way you do is hard. I can’t say it. I can’t speak it. I can’t form it into words. But I can write it.

I am so grateful for texting. I am grateful for alternative forms of communication. Without texting, without letters, without writing, I would still be voiceless. Yes, I would be able to speak, but I would have so much trapped inside of me.

How I Communicate

I write a lot of letters. Nowadays, I try to write at least one letter per week. I used to feel foolish for my letter writing, and so there are many letters that I never gave to the person I wrote them for. Now, I feel foolish for never giving those letters.

I can’t express to someone how I appreciate them through speaking. I’ve tried it before and it was okay, but it just couldn’t convey the same meaning. Writing letters is my way of saying I love you. Writing letters is my way of saying thank you. It’s how I can explain myself and how I communicate best.

I can’t believe I ever thought that was wrong. I can’t believe I degraded myself for how I communicated and expressed myself. I can’t believe I forced myself into silence because I was afraid of being different.

I wish I could go back and hug my former self and tell me that it’s okay to write letters. I wish I could put my arm around the shoulder of that quiet girl who was so afraid of being hurt and tell her that letters make a difference. I wish I could let her know that letters would be one of the few ways she could make and keep friends.

I don’t know how you communicate or what works for you, but whatever it is, don’t stop. Don’t stay quiet because of fear. Don’t force yourself to not do something that’s natural because you’re afraid of being different. It might just make you a lot lonelier for a lot longer than you need to be.

We All Want Love

I love the beginning of the song “Long Time Coming” by Oliver James where it says, “Everybody wants to be loved every once in a while.” It’s true that we all want to feel loved, but we also want to know how much we are loved. Even though most of us know we are loved, many of us don’t know how much we are loved. And usually we think we are loved a lot less than we really are.

I am really horrible at saying “I love you.” Part of it is because of autism and part of it is because my family just isn’t very vocal about that sort of thing. We all love each other, but to show love we’ll usually do something nice for each other rather than say “I love you.” So I never really said “I love you” until a couple years ago. And it was hard for me to get comfortable with saying it out loud.

Because it’s so hard for me to express how I feel about someone, I usually write letters instead. I write letters for pretty much anything. If I’m feeling sad or lonely or depressed or left out or happy or ecstatic or loving or grateful, I usually express it through writing.

I have felt extremely foolish before for my letter writing.When I was in college I would write letters to my roommates all the time. I just couldn’t talk to them because they were at a completely different level than I was and I couldn’t figure out how to connect with them. So I would write notes and put them up hoping they would see them. Communicating like that in a college setting made me feel like less of a person. I felt mediocre for not being able to express myself like everyone else seemed to be able to do.

But other experiences have made me glad that I write letters. Last week I gave a letter to an amazing lady who always comes to the temple where I serve. I didn’t know she needed it, but I knew I could never tell her in person and I wanted her to know how grateful I am for her. Well, I saw her again last night and she just couldn’t stop hugging me. She told me how much she needed that letter and that she read it over and over and would cherish it always.

So my point with all of this is just to let people know how you feel about them. Let them know you are grateful for them and that you love them and that you admire them. It doesn’t matter if you do it in a letter or if you do it in person or over the phone or through social media. Just let them know, because we all want love and we all want to know we are loved.