March 31st, 2010

Blow My Mind

This was said to me today.

"Do you think it's because of your disability?"

A co-worker thought I had a speaking disability.

Here's what happened. Said co-worker and I were talking (venting, really) about a work situation and Stuff I Must Figure Out, and she was being nice enough to talk to me and help in that Figuring Out process. I've gotten in the habit -- at least partly because she's stationed near three offices of particularly high-ranking people in our company -- of speaking to her more softly than usual. And in the office, I tend to be quieter than with family and friends. It just fits the office's tone. And even at the lower speed and volume of my speech there, I can still trip over my tongue. Stammer. Get tangled in words and force myself to, say, things, like, this, some, times, so I can get the words out. In other words, I'm not always a smooth speaker. (I'm not a smooth talker, either, but that's another story.) Do I have more trouble speaking around her than I usually do?

I admitted to her I did have speech therapy as a kid. (I didn't add what I usually do, which is that Patrick Stewart did, too.) Took a few moments of cognitive dissonance to admit that -- and admit, of course, that I'm not disabled. No Tourette symptoms here. Just a failure to communicate.

I need to speak more clearly to her. Speak with more gusto. I can. Many of you know I can.
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