Self Mute: Choosing A World-Flung Life When You're Language-Averse

When I was a girl I had an office -- and a mailbox. Besides filling order forms we'd salvaged from local companies going out of business, what I loved most were the messages I'd trade with my sisters. Plus, my grandmother nicknamed me “motormouth”. Years later an astrologer pointed out Virgo in my Third House of communication, a sign ruled by Mercury, the very planet of information transfer. Mercury also rules Virgo, some kind of communication double whammy.

But loving to communicate is not the same thing as communicating well. Nor does it mean that communication comes easily.

According to family lore my first sentence was a complete one at the advanced age of two. Developmental specialists -- yes, they checked me out, mute toddler -- concluded I wasn’t comfortable with my own baby talk.

So imagine the paradox of studying eight languages. Traveling to more than 30 countries. Choosing a world-flung life that often surrounds me with people who don’t speak English. I remain language-resistant. I’m the monolingual American you hear so much about, and the muted presence so many of the people around me perhaps don’t hear at all.

Today fellow writer Amanda van Mulligen’s post hits home. She questions how self-expression can pierce a language barrier, especially if you’re shy. That would be me. Shy to speak like a baby.

What are you drawn to in life that doesn’t come easily to you?