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There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to express yourself. At least, for someone like me there’s not. I’m a talker, a social creature, slightly performative (some would say a little more than slightly) and enjoy the banter of conversation with people of similiar interests, sense of humour and intelligence. In short, I love a dinner with friends, I love a picnic in the park talking rubbish and making inside jokes on wordplay. I love words. Reading them, writing them, analysing them, tattooing them on my body, i’m all about language, Words, speaking, communicating and creating meaning from that communication.
So being unable to express all that, to enjoy all of that, is infuriating.
The hardest part is, I only have myself to blame. Well not blame, I am starting my German course next month when we can afford it but it kills me that language is my barrier. The one thing I have always adored, revelled in, studied, explored, analysed, pulled apart and enjoyed – is holding me back. I’m suddenly a wallflower through necessity at the pub. I’m sitting quietly on dinner tables, responding when directly spoken to, addressing direct questions but not contributing in any meaningful way to conversations. I’m having myself spoken about, not to, when meeting new people. That’s part of the deal, I understand it, and people here have been lovely in adjusting conversations to English but for the most part, its like there’s a tiny trapped me inside the girl sitting at the table dying for expression. I can’t be myself without words. I can’t express who I am fully without understanding the conversation flowing around me. And its exhausting. Concentrating on interpreting conversation beyond the words, in catching the few words you do know and piecing them together with the gestures, laughs and reactions around you is do-able, but over the course of an afternoon or evening, difficult. But you don’t want to sit there like a moron staring off into the middle distance for hours. So you concentrate, you put the effort into interpretation and your best ‘interested’ or appropriate to the story (you think) face on. But its exhausting. I want to fast forward the part where I don’t understand and get to the middle where there’s at least a crack of recognition in conversations for me. I know it doesn’t work like that. But it feels like there’s a huge chunk of me trapped behind the language barrier. I’m not the quiet mousey type who lets her partner speak for her. But here I have to be. Not forever, but for now, and its infurating. Unfortunately the only cure is time and patience while I learn. Which has never been my strong point.
Despite the frustration, we did have a stunning weekend hike, and beyond all my expectations I enjoyed it. Weekend one of Sober October and i’m hiking in the freakin mountains, who knows what a whole month will do to me!!