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On Communication
Communication has always been a bit of an issue for me.

For one thing, I talk very fast when I don't stop myself, and I stutter. It's not a classic stutter - it's called cluttering, which essentially means that I think faster than I talk, and when my mouth tries to keep up I trip over my own words. I can speak clearly when I focus, but it isn't always easy, and it's harder when I'm excited - which is, of course, when I most want to get my point across.

I'm better at communicating with people (in terms of social skills as well as simple speech) than I used to be, but part of getting better at it has involved becoming aware of my difficulties, and it is incredibly frustrating. It's practicing twice as long for a big presentation, because the words won't come out right if I don't know them well enough. It's taking an extra moment to start speaking, because the words are in my head, but they simply won't come out. It's having to repeat myself several times just to be understood.

And yet, I love words. I'm very good with them, especially if I have the time to think things through and edit myself. I like to text or email, when I can get away from it, and though I have little flair for fiction I quite like to write. I've loved to read for as long as I can remember. I like to memorize interesting quotes and bits of doggerel, and to steal and reuse perfect turns of phrase. I'm love poetry and verse - for a little bit after I saw King Lear I spoke in iambic pentameter, just because the language had invaded my head. The way words flow is important to me, and the fact that I can't always make them flow properly is intensely frustrating.

I'm good at compensating. I'm loquacious when I want to be (it's easier once I get going), but I'm also an excellent listener. I'm good at nonverbal cues, like a wave or a grin - if I can make a minor phrase unnecessary with a gesture or expression, I generally do. I also tend to gesticulate. I get my messages across when I need to do so. But I do sometimes hate that it requires compensation.

Communication is an essential part of being human - very few people do well in total isolation, and therefore we find ways to bridge the gap. My ways are my own. They're how I interact with the world, and they've shaped who I am and how people see me. One of the most offensive things anyone's ever said to me was that one day God would "cure" my stutter (presumably in a mystic lightning bolt, after which I would fall to my knees and believe absolutely). It's my own issue, and I can and do deal with it.


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