2003-09-11 - 9:23 p.m.

I have always had trepidation with speech. I have never been a vocal person. I have a problem with it. Even if I have something very valid and well spoken in my head to say out loud I lose it the moment I actually open my mouth to release the words. Anytime I have ever had an argument with someone I end up stifling my words and storming off someplace to write it down and then I present the person with whom I was arguing with a letter, my words in paper so that I donít have to speak them out loud. An ex boyfriend of mine from high school who calls every so often to check on me still talks about those letters. Colleagues of mine know I am pissed when I say, ďIím going to write a letter,Ē because a couple of them have received such letters and they know just how powerful they are. No one has ever stayed mad at me after a letter, and usually people know exactly what I am trying to say when I present them with a letter. Not so when I try to speak those very same words. Not only am I unable to actually put the words into sentences, but I am also soft spoken. I say soft spoken to describe myself not in every day useÖbecause if you know me you would never say I am soft spoken, my every day voice, the common voice that tells you about my weekend or asks you about yours is normal, clear, not loud per se, but at a level that it is more than audible. My angry voice, or my voice that desperately wants to say something becomes hindered, muted. Itís like singing out loud in front of someone if you canít sing, you tend to do it quietly and no matter how much you want to sing it loudly, you canít get your voice to the levels that it is when you are singing in your car alone.

And this is the reason I have had such a hard time learning French. Because I am terrified of speaking out loud. I am self conscious, sure, but I REALLY want to learn so it is truly like singing around someone and not being able to let my voice just go at it like I do in my car. I am taking a French class right now and found myself tonight just wanting to cry because I KNOW all the words, I know the meaning of every single word presented to us tonight, I can even hear them in my head, but to speak them, out loud, in front of all those people I donít know just sent me into a downward spiral and all those lovely words that I can roll off my tongue when alone became jumbled messes of letters that didnít sound anything like they should. And I felt humiliated, shamed, embarrassed and stupid. I also felt like punching the instructor in the gut and finally, when he picked me out to pronounce something, told him he was scaring me. And so he passed me and will probably never call on me again and so this class will now be a waste because I wonít learn the one thing I signed up forÖwhich was the confidence to speak this language I so desperately want to speak, out loud. To people.

So this week, between my moments of depression after the Boy leaves and the days before my best friend arrives from Iowa for the weekend, I will practice my ass off and hope that he gives me a second chance next week to say something out loud. And I really hope I donít freeze up again and announce to him that he is scaring me. Iím such a moron.

Anyway. Boy leaves in just a few days and I am pretty sure I canít handle it this time. Back in the day it felt okay when he left, I missed him, yeah, but I was still living the same life I had always lived so his coming here felt like something out of the ordinary. Now, I am used to him, his being here, me being there, being together feels like the right life, my other life feels like some sort of paused moment, a waiting. I like life WITH him. I am used to life WITH him now and anything but that just feels wrong. Does that make any sense? It is like culture shock when I am with out him now, I get the same feeling when he leaves as I do when I am in the throes of culture shock.

He asked tonight, ďIf we got married now, not later, but now, would you come to France to live?Ē And I said, ďNo.Ē Because I canít. I canít because I have my cats and I wonít put them through that journey unless I am going to be someplace for a while and Boy will only be there for another year and a half tops. And, Boy lives in an apartment there and six cats in an apartment would not be a good thing. And because I canít work there and I have no money. And because my house here is falling apart and in order to sell it I have to do some stuff, but I donít have any money to do that with now that I fly to France for months at a time. So basically there is no winning right now, nothing will change the situation I am in. Not marriage, not anything. But I so desperately wish it would. I so desperately want to be with him, all the time.

But for once I will be patient and wait for his next assignment and then I will go with him. I just have to remember that a year and a half without him with me all the time will someday seem like nothing after we have lived together for twenty years. Then I will look back on this time and it will seem wonderful.



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