I'd never before entertained the idea and, if it's true, I wish someone would've told me:
I think I might be a loudmouth.
Folks tend to learn a few things when losing what's taken for granted. In my case, it was my voice. When limited to itchy rasps and forced whispers, one tends to get more choosy with words and when and where they're spent. One remembers just how frequently those vocal cords are typically put to use.
I'm beyond happy to say I'm back and ready to chat after a prolonged bout of laryngitis. The voice was at various stages of disrepair for the better part of three weeks. It was annoying. It made the last few work weeks quite an adventure.
What really struck me, though, was recognizing how much it nipped at my psyche. That's where some learning came in.
Much of who we are is a matter of how and what we share. I felt out of sorts when the give and take slowed to only that necessary. As one fond of mining for lessons from uncomfortable times, a few weeks of involuntary silence raised a good one.
Communication is a real gift and, from that place, it's one that deserves better than to be exercised thoughtlessly. Some bits of that far-too-common attacking language out there became more glaring.
Let me raise my regained voice with a suggestion. It seems many could stand to think back to what Mom and Dad had to say. If there's nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
I've made a personal revision to that nugget: "If one can't speak with right intention and from a place of integrity, say nothing at all." Real life isn't always nice. The spirit is the same. If you can't add, certainly don't subtract.
The next step, I think, comes from the opposite place. When nice things are on the tip of your tongue, don't lose the fleeting opportunity. Say "thank you." Say "I love you." If the time and place is appropriate, make another person laugh. I had a laugh of my own from a friend who quipped that the last few weeks were probably the best my family ever had.
I'm not quite out of the woods yet. You're not going to find me looking for Styx on the karaoke machine. By a given day's end, I'm still encountering those cracks I thought I left behind about age 14.
The discomfort was worth the reminder. The best way to benefit ourselves is to benefit others and our communication is huge piece of the puzzle. Without taking pause, it's easy enough to harm.
There are good times and right places for silence and for a whole bunch of reasons. And sometimes, it's OK to be a loudmouth.
I look forward to the next opportunity.