Monday, September 27, 2010

Laryngitis Lynnie

My son-in-law loves me, even though he insists on calling me Lynnie every chance he gets.

“Goodbye, Laryngitis Lynnie!” he said yesterday as I was leaving Pittsburgh, big grin on his face.

Love you, too, Matt. *eyeroll*

It happens every couple of years, this laryngitis nonsense that always eventually makes sense. I felt it coming on Saturday afternoon, and sure enough by midnight, my voice was toast. I talked (actually I whispered) a little too much early yesterday which made it worse before I got smart and shut the heck up. For 28 hours I’ve been silent and must remain silent for at least another 24-48. Doctor’s orders.

I’m relegated to texting, emailing and hand-writing people I’d normally just talk to. I may have no vocal chords to speak of right now, but I still have a lot to say. Too much, perhaps. Just ask my massage therapist. A normal person with laryngitis would go in and write, “I have laryngitis and cannot talk” and just enjoy a silent massage.

Not me.

My massage therapist doubles as my shrink. I brought my note pad and pen into the room today and wrote to her while she worked the kinks out of my neck and knee. Only when I was on my stomach was I rendered speechless, so to speak, but it was then that I truly relaxed and heard that voice in my head say, “Chillax, woman.”

It’s not like I yammer on constantly. In fact, my days are usually filled with a lot of silence. But it’s silence born from being alone, not from an inability to talk. On silent days, I have the option of picking up the phone and calling someone. I can chat with the mailman. Say hello to my neighbor or the person who makes my latte. This self-imposed silence takes concentration. Mindfulness.

The reality is that right now, I can’t talk. It hurts. And when something hurts, you take care of it, right? Isn’t that what you do?

Probably not always, is my guess. How often do we put ourselves first, even when necessary? We’re busy, we have things we absolutely have to do, and we tell ourselves it’s OK – maybe even preferred – to care about everyone else, but not ourselves. We have too little time, we’re not that important, and so we suffer in silence instead of appreciate or welcome silence.

I thought it was funny (not “ha ha” funny, but funny) that it is this silence – this “I can’t talk even if I wanted to” silence – that showed me that I fill my vocally-able times with a whole lot of bullsh*t. Sorry for the expletive, but it’s the truth. How many times do we say exactly what we want to, with no preludes, no great big explanations and no apologies? How often do we just get to the point? Say what we need?

I’m certainly not the queen of succinct talking, especially when I have to ask for something. I hem. I haw. I try to read the other person to see if I have the right to ask what it is I want to ask. It comes down to self-esteem and self-worth, and I waste a lot of words winding my way through that maze. That was my MO when I was 300 pounds, that’s for sure. I hardly ever stuck up for myself or asserted what I needed unless I was sure I’d get it. My self-esteem was minus zero back then. Glad to say it’s on the plus side now, but still could use some improvement. I’m working on it.

It’s “helps,” if you will, to get laryngitis. I’m beholden to a pen and a piece of paper. A phone with 100 characters of texting capability. I have to be very succinct when I convey what I need. No BS, no fluff stuff that rarely belongs in a conversation.

“Will U buy me Vit C?” I wrote to Larry before he went to work. If I could talk, I’d have said my doctor said I should take vitamin C while I’m sick, then had a big long debate with him about whether vitamin C really does any good and maybe I shouldn’t waste my time and money, when in the end I know I’d have asked him to buy it for me anyway. So I bypassed the BS and simply “said,” will you buy me vitamin C? And he said, “Yes.” That’s all. Just, “Yes. 100 tabs OK?”

I wish it didn’t take such a drastic condition for me to wake up and appreciate silences; to knock off the BS and get to the heart of what I want to say. I’m sure it will be a few more laryngitis episodes before I learn that lesson completely.

My voice is toast. I just tried to say something and notta. I can’t even laugh. I even sneeze in silence. So there will be a lot of time in the upcoming day or two for silent thought and reflection. I’m not going to waste it. Because like the women in the Loreal commercial, I’m worth it. I’m worth this silent time. I just hope deep down I absorb it, believe it, and speak more mindfully when my voice returns.

11 comments:

  1. Hope you are feeling better!

    Fingers are no substitutes for actually speaking...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Things seems to happen to us when we most need it. How wonderful. Not that you're not feeling well, but that you're using that as a reason for introspection.

    Get well soon. Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. What? Cut to the chase, get my point across in one sentence? I cannot fathom it. ;)

    Hope you get your voice back - that has to be frustrating!

    ReplyDelete
  4. "i even sneeze in silence" LOL

    get well soon!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hope your feeling better soon. Take care of yourself and rest that voice:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautifully written thank you Lynn I too suffer with lack of voice. It's taught me that people don't always listen to the words but how we say them. My voice makes me sound very squeaky and unsure people respond at times very negatively to me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry you are sick :( I'm glad you can fully express yourself with your post.
    I loved your story about the vitamin c. I always have to explain and debate things too. My stories can be long and drawn out. My husband once gave me the wind-it-up sign when I was telling him something that had happened during my day. He's never done that again ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your gift for putting a positive spin on things, even when they suck and make you feel very frustrated. Hope you're feeling better (and vocal!) soon!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and everyone is gone or still sleeping - I may not speak for hours. I don't even think about it until it's time to say something and my voice sounds a little raspy for a few seconds. You are so right about how often we parlay a 3 word sentence into a verbal paragraph. However, we are constantly evolving and improving... not just with our self image, but in all ways. Feel better soon and say more with less from now on... unless you're blogging of course.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, we SO are sisters - the "chillax woman" comment sums up what I tell my noisy brain on a daily basis - ha! When you are well, we certainly have tons to talk about and we cut right through the BS with each other most of the time. Feel better soon! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Silence is golden - especially when you embrace it in your heart... at least it has been for me.

    ReplyDelete