I know it’s already July 2, but given yesterday’s events, I think retroactively, this still works.
For the month of July, I’m forcing myself to speak more. At some point in high school, I stopped being THAT GIRL, you know, that hyperactive always-smiling, always-laughing non-stop chatterbox who oh-my-god-does-she-never-shut-up? was forever in motion, both her body and mouth. I found that observing others, watching the world around me, was much more fascinating. Everyday life was already packed full with others’ voices– instead of contributing to the noise, I found joy in simply taking it all in.
In the years since the conversion, I’ve found myself less and less eager to make small talk, or sometimes, to talk at all. It drives some people I know absolutely nuts, and more than a few of them paranoid when we’re on the phone with each other ("Hello? You still there?"). It got to the point where I hated having to get my hair cut, because my stylist would always insist on making me talk about myself and my life and I never knew what to say.
In some cases, it’s a matter of being overwhelmed. I have no simple answers– everything always "depends"– and as my thought processes strain to formulate a response to a question as simple as, "So what kind of music do you like?" the monstrous numeration of query results becomes too much for my brain to reasonably translate into speech, my vocal cords thereby shut down and, left a mute deer in headlights, I give a helpless look and shrug. Too much to say– information overload– D0ES N0T C0MPUTE– what’s a girl to do, except retreat back into my mind where all the words are, only in thought form? As that Death Cab line goes: "And it is true what you said / That I live like a hermit in my own head."
In most cases, however, it simply is that I love to people-watch, love to witness human dynamics and interactions at play.
[Two hours later]
No idea where I’m trying to go with this.
Here’s the thing: my last semester in college, I had an English professor tell me that I was a good writer and the essays I’d written for a prior class I’d taken with her were fine and all, but she felt I was only developing theses with which I was comfortable. She insisted– near-demanded, really– that this time around, I explore topics I didn’t necessarily understand from the outset. In short, she wanted to watch me *struggle* with the topic in the essay itself. To forget all the rules and constructs regarding writing and analysis, to explore the unfamiliar and uncomfortable and, hopefully, bore through my walls and emerge an even better writer.
I don’t know about the "better writer" bit as far as overall effects go , but I did produce some of my best-ever essays for that class as a result of her guidance. I was plagued by anxiety and uncertainty most of the time ("I want to include this observation but I don’t know how to incorporate it without–" "LORA! JUST WRITE IT!"), but I gritted my teeth, complied, and have been nothing less than amazingly grateful to her since.
And I’m wondering, have wondered on and off for a long time, what other potential I have locked away within me, aspects I can’t access because I hold back too much in situations that make me uncomfortable. This isn’t so much an experiment in carpe diem as it is an experiment in personal reflection. Deliberately make myself uncomfortable for a month (what’s one month?) and see what happens. I’ll either grow as a result, or become an absolutely confirmed champion of solitude.
As for, what exactly are these situations, etc. that make me so uncomfortable? Glad you asked! But this post is running too long as-is, so I’ll address them tomorrow. I think.
 Three posts in one day? Yeah, because seriously, my legs. will. not. cooperate. And I need them to work later tonight. Bother.
 See Part the Second.