A Problem with Articulation
I feel bad; I made a [semi]commitment to write in this thing once a week, and I failed.
I haven’t really had much to say.
Or, I have so many things to say that I am unable to access a single overarching thought that could become the theme for a blog post to even begin saying what I have to say.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you sometimes just cannot articulate thoughts?
Occasionally someone will ask my opinion on something about which I actually have very strong feelings only to be met by a blank, panic-stricken stare—eyes wide, mouth agape—comprehensible reason painted over by a dense forest of word fragments and images that blend and dance across my my cerebral cortex, refusing to align into something I can clearly extrapolate and reconstruct into coherent sentences, but that make perfect sense to my brain.
How this same attempt to explain my thought process comes out in prompted informal speech:
“I don’t know.”
Often it seems I don’t know much of anything.
It’s frustrating, to say the least.
I remember being obsessed with this guy, Mike, in high school. He would pick me up and we would go to the movies or whatever, and there was a lot of awkward riding in his car in a silent panic over my inability to think of anything coherent to say. I was a very anxious girl—not because I was afraid to say things that were on my mind but because often the things on my mind were not comprehensible sentences and I therefore could not say them without sounding like a crazy person.
Here is a breakdown of how things typically look inside my brain when I’m having a “blank mind” episode:
This silence is awkward; I need to say something. Need to say something. Need to say … something … Something. SAY some. thing.
Peanut butter. news. Did you see the news? Fox news. MSNBC. Politics. Shouldn’t talk about politics. Or news; that’s depressing. fox hole. sink hole, rabbit hole. Say something. Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with me—why can’t I think?
Muscles are getting increasingly tense by this point and I become suddenly aware that my neck really hurts. I inhale deeply and try to relax, but it doesn’t work.
Blalalalalala. Lalalala. blah blah. Bleh. This is excruciating.
I’m perspiring. I have sensory issues with armpit sweat and get cold easily, so I am feeling almost unbearably uncomfortable; my underarms are cold and clammy and it’s causing me to shiver.
It is 80 degrees outside, and I am fucking shivering. I am shivering. Shivering like a weirdo and I cannot stop. He’s going to think I’m weird if he notices.
I clench my teeth in an effort to stop shivering.
Elevator. You’re really cute. Escalator. Yesterday in math class … No. Ham and cheese sandwich. The stars are bright tonight? Is that a normal thing to say?
Ugh! I am stupid.
Purple. Cheese plate. Hey, I like you? No; he already knows that. (Cue nervous rubbing together of the fingers and lip biting). I take another deep breath.
Cue cute-girl physical defense mechanism for momentary lack of brain: Turn to him and grin. He smiles back; good. Pretty straight smile paid for by braces: 1; Sarah: 0. This will only get me so far, though; this guy values “ability to make interesting conversation” over “ability to smile awkwardly while having a young, attractive face.”
“So … Um, what’s up?”
Needless to say, we never got married.