I have had a lot of time to think about a lot of things since my vocal cord surgery on March 3rd.
One of the things I’ve thought about is how I feel a little bad for kids/teens today. I know most are over-indulged, and don’t lack for things. But, these last 16 days, having to be very limited, and conscious of my voice use, I’ve texted- a lot. And, I find it completely unfulfilling.
Please don’t misunderstand, texting has its place. At full voice, I use it often. But, if there is a topic where voice inflection, emotion, or feeling matter, I can usually talk it out. I can’t help but think that MOST teens today have little idea how to hold an actual conversation, and that the digital media age is limiting, and severely dampening their interpersonal skills. The constant texting leads to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and a general feeling of loneliness that just doesn’t have to happen. I know – because right now I am living it.
I spend a good deal of time communicating online. I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I blog as often as I can. I “meet” others around the world with Cowden’s Syndrome. And I am so grateful. Typically, the internet is a major source of secondary communication. Except right now – it’s a lot of all I’ve got.
I am still at a point of severely restricted speech. There were significant cuts made into both of my vocal cords. I need to practice the exercises given to me in vocal therapy. AND, I need to be quiet. Often.
I can speak a few minutes each hour, in a gentle voice. But, the rest of the time I carry my phone to text my family. Conversation is brief, and sometimes frustrating by no one’s fault. Tension can rise quickly. You find yourself on edge. It’s a wild form of isolation to be present, yet unable to communicate the way you want to.
I like a nice quiet day alone as much as the next person. The thrill of being on my own to watch a few shows on Netflix was not lost on me. I have appreciated the silence I so often wished for.
But, like everything, I’ve also learned too much of anything is not a good thing.
I retreat to avoid my natural posture, which is lips moving. I am ALWAYS talking. So even when my family is around, I’ve taken to “hiding.” It’s necessary for the healing. But, I’m over it.
There will be about 4 more weeks of gradual movement towards full speech, all building to a (hopefully final) post-op visit on April 13th.
In the mean time, I appreciate your texts. I appreciate your Emails. I appreciate your support. I am trying to store up these times of silence to see if they’ll help me through when life gets too noisy.
“You can have it all, just not all at the same time,” a wise friend once told me.
I look around at adversity, illness, tragedy, and loss. I am aware of my blessings. I am grateful.
I am also honest. I live my emotions so they don’t get the best of me. I laugh hard, and cry hard (although both are frowned upon as the voice recovers.) It’s all about balance.
So for now,
will have to be done quietly.