Words Without Voice

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about expression. Specifically, how you express yourself creatively. This one’s pretty simple for me, because writing is practically the only way I express myself. I spend most of my time either reading or writing something, and I’m really shy. I absolutely thrive when I’m exploring and wandering alone. I’m fine in a professional or one-on-one setting. But adding lots of people makes things…messy. If you met me at a party (probably hiding in a corner with a book), you’d rarely get more than politeness and a smile out of me. I never know what to say in social situations, and my voice is too soft for most people to hear. Some people have said I’m intimidating. I also think much faster than I speak, so I have to make a conscious effort to slow down verbally. Otherwise, it can come out as gibberish. With all that trouble, why bother wasting my breath? Writing is much more natural to me; I can collect my thoughts and focus without worrying about scaring other people away.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m okay with that. It’s really frustrating to be the quiet type. Human beings are social creatures, and the Internet takes it to the logical extreme. We’re constantly bombarded with tweets, videos, ads, etc. about everything we can possibly think of. While it’s a great snapshot of the modern world, it’s tough to sort out all the ideas and find the individuals buried beneath it. That’s especially true for writers; I could weave together an incredibly detailed narrative about the history of a game company, but it’d probably get overshadowed by the latest funny cat-related video. I’ve been laying the groundwork for a Let’s Play channel on YouTube or Twitch – I even have a microphone and recording software – but I’ve found that my voice really is as soft as I feared. You think public speaking is tough? Try talking into a mic and making your live video gaming sessions sound interesting. It’s harder than it looks. I just don’t have the personality for it. Since there’s no way I can be as loud or obnoxious as most players, I’ll inevitably be drowned out.

It’s the same thing with music. I’ve memorized dozens – if not hundreds – of songs in my head, but I can’t actually sing them out loud. I’ve got Bohemian Rhapsody and Under Pressure down perfectly, but only a tiny fraction of Freddie Mercury’s range. I’ve tried karaoke exactly twice, and I ended up just reading the words onscreen. Yeah, it’s not fun being booed and laughed offstage. My sense of rhythm isn’t much better; I have trouble with dancing and even simple music-based games. I fare much better when it comes to capturing moments via painting and photography. In my college years, I could sit for hours with a canvas and a set of brushes and colors. I’ve got a good eye for shading and perspective. Drawing is much harder, though. I’ve grown accustomed to taking my camera with me everywhere, just in case I stumble across something fascinating. All of my photos – including the ones I’ve posted on the blog – are taken with no preparation whatsoever. Judging by the feedback I’ve been getting, I’m pretty good for a newbie. If I keep at it, maybe I’ll be great someday.

Until then, writing is all that counts.

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11 thoughts on “Words Without Voice

  1. Hi! I have been following your blog for only a few days now so I do not know so much about you yet so sorry in case my message just makes you think “duh!” 😉 What you describe here sounds like me about a year ago… slightly frustrated with the way you just are and not having figured out why everything is that way. Well, one of your interests according to your “about” section is psychology. From what I read here, you seem like a typical introvert to me, so why not dig into the topic of introversion? It certainly helped me to understand myself (and lots of other people…) and to use my introvert strengths to acchieve what I want rather than techniques that were suggested by people who do not understand me or other quiet types.

    Juli

    • Thanks for posting! Oh, yeah. No worries. I *know* I’m a textbook introvert. INTJ, according the Myers-Briggs. I’ve read all about the dichotomy and know where I fall in the spectrum. My problem is figuring out how to translate that into a successful life. Not easy. I know I’m capable of doing so much more, and I just need to figure out how. That’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog; I love learning about the world, so I want to share it in the best way I possibly can.

      • Oddly, I found out about the details of introvert psychology just about half a year ago. By chance, I found out about introversion on a German news website. Since then, I read quite a bit about the topic, but I think I am still more at the beginning of grasping what it is all about (Do you have any recommendations? Articles, books…?). Like you, I want to start a blog about things that really interest me hoping that something will crystalize, showing me what I really want, but some part in me tells me that all I really want is just learn all my life. Learning has always given me joy. The ordinary nine-to-five job does not work for me (been there, done that). I will see…

        I never took a professional test, but the online tests I did usually indicate that I am INTJ as well. So I guess we are struggling with similar issues. Just wanted to say, it feels good that there are people out there who feel like I do, not having to think you are kind of a weirdo. We introverts will learn from each other, in a very quiet manner probably, but we will 😉

        May I ask what you consider a “successful life”?

      • Wow, we are similar. It’s refreshing to have a reminder that I’m not alone! As far as further looks into introversion, we’ve probably read most of the same stuff. Susan Cain’s TED Talk was the first time I’d ever seen someone talk about it with some depth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

        And yeah, I’ve done the 9 to 5 routine, too. I lasted 12 years before finally giving up last November. It’s not my thing, but the practicality and safety kept me rooted. Now that I’m cut loose, I’ve got to find something that does work.

        As far as a successful life goes…Hmmm. Finding a profession that not only makes me happy, but allows for good financial stability. I don’t need an extravagant castle – Versailles is amazing, but the upkeep required must be mind-boggling – just enough to have a decent house and provide for the needs of myself and a potential family. I’ve had experience with living on little money (paying for university on your own is not fun), so I tend to avoid spending much. I don’t need all the finest luxuries, but enough to further build my personal library, continue my studies independently, and travel around the world couple of times a year would be nice. I’d like do something that would change the world, even if it does sound idealistic. Write a famous novel, maybe. Or perhaps a profession that allows me to explore; I could catalog new Amazonian species, analyze ice in the Arctic Circle, or work on archaeological digs in Cambodia, Greece…

        Okay, my imagination is getting away from me.

        I just want to do something that allows me to experience the world and live comfortably until I die of old age. I’ve lived with old relatives, and I’ve seen what happens to elders once the younger generations forget about them. It can be a terribly lonely existence, and I don’t want to end up as a broken, bitter remnant wishing I’d done more with my time. If I can keep learning and doing things, hopefully my life will be fulfilling in the end.

        How about you?

      • Nothing new in the Susan Cain presentation for me unfortunately but thanks 😉 I feel like I do not have to tell you much about my view of a successful life because it is almost exactly like yours. Just the world-changing thing would be the nice little extra item because I keep thinking: You only hear about the handful of people that succeed… what about the thousands of people who don’t? Nobody hears their voices… It is not like I do not have inspiration or that I do not want to try. I can be very passionate about projects I like. But I do not want the thought that I have to succeed in some world-changing thing or that my thoughts or output should be acknowledged rule my life. There are too many other nice things out there that I don’t want anything to rule my life.

        I am still trying to figure out where my road will lead but the searching part alone is quite a lot of fun already that definitely makes me more happy than the rather dull life before now. For now, I just hope that this road will lead somewhere and that I can find more deep people as I enjoy their views and presence. Those are really rare… Sometimes I think that there should be more of them everywhere but society probably dictates them that deep talk is nothing friends are interested in.

        I recently tried out just to be open with total strangers whom I meet along the road while traveling. While I certainly cannot reach everyone as well as I would like to, with some I actually managed to talk about things that are important to them and me, having rather complex conversations and leaving that boring smalltalk routine behind. You get what you give. This is one of the most important things I learned the past few days.

      • Oh, I totally agree. I think the problem is that our fast-paced society doesn’t encourage deep thought; people are often so focused on their daily routines that it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger questions. When such issues are brought up, most people haven’t even considered them. And if they have, they’re too uncomfortable to pursue them further. If people took even just a little more time every day to think about appreciate the world around them, they’d be better off in the long run.

        And yeah, I’m much more open when I’m abroad. It’s oddly easier to talk to strangers when you’re all fellow travelers; there’s some level of camaraderie when people are stuck together in unusual situations. I and about a dozen other people nearly drowned in a monsoon off Thailand’s coast a few years back, and everyone was quite pleasant once we managed to make it back to land. Even when I’m exploring here in San Francisco, I make it a point to visit some of the same locations and visit with local shopkeepers. I make a conscious effort not to look terribly intimidating, though the results have been mixed. I’ve been told I look scary when I frown. It’s amazing how far a smile and greeting can go. The conversations started small, but they eventually opened up once I became a familiar face. It’s a slow, but steady process. I’ll keep working on it.

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