Wendy Woolfson

Twisted Talking

“And don’t talk too fast, you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.” ~ Charles B. Thomsen

I’m a storyteller who can no longer move her mouth to articulate the tales. My mouth twists and distorts into different shapes when I go to speak, and I have to think carefully about how to shape and form the words. My tongue is literally tied and twisted and unable to move freely anymore. It is stiff, numb, and it feels like it’s on fire all the time. It tingles and rages like an angry dragon in my mouth.

I can’t tell my stories anymore, except through writing of course, which is good, at least I can do that. It looks comical at times, the way my mouth tries to form patterns and twists, and then there’s other moments when I catch my reflection in the blank screen of the TV or laptop and I think I look ugly and frightening and I wonder what must people think when they look at me?

Not being able to speak properly is frustrating. It’s annoying. It makes me angry. It’s exhausting. It’s tiring trying to say anything and to get what I want to say out of my mouth. I know it’s here to teach me something, but what? To listen more? I’m a good listener already but of course, there’s always room for improvement in that, I could be better for sure. That’s the obvious one. What else? To understand the importance of speech?

Speaking is a valuable tool, it’s how we can best express ourselves and let others know how we feel and what we need. Do you tell people what you need and how you’re feeling? If not, then ask yourself, why? There’s a reason in there and if you can find it you’ll unlock something important, something you need to work on that will help you to grow and will help you in your life.

Often the reason we don’t talk to anyone is because we think we don’t have someone to talk to. It can be about having someone in your life that you feel you can talk to, and not everyone has that. We can get locked in and find ourselves unable to communicate with anyone. We can get closed inside a shell of pain and feel like no one would want to listen to us but that’s not true, there’s always someone who will be attentive, and who will want to hear. Have a really good think about who would welcome you and go talk to them. Don’t hold it all in because it festers and grows and becomes a cancer. You need to let it out, you need to be heard, you’re entitled to be heard and don’t let anyone else tell you different.

We all deserve to be heard, and listening is such a pleasure for most people. It can make them feel privileged that someone would choose them to tell these things to. Only remember to find someone you trust of course. Don’t go blurting all your deepest, darkest stuff out to just anyone. Build yourself some boundaries first and be sure to keep yourself safe. Safety first! But do it. Do it before it becomes an emergency. Do it before it becomes an illness. When we keep our thoughts and feelings locked up inside ourselves they become an illness. This is scientific fact now that’s been thoroughly researched and proven. Our thoughts and feelings create illness! I know where my cancer came from and so I’m telling it that it can go because all the things that I didn’t talk about that caused the cancer, have ended and finished. The trauma is over. We have to remind our brains that it’s over to build new neural pathways in our brains. These pathways create a new way of thinking, a positive way, if you choose it. I’ve had the therapy, I’ve talked it all out. I’ve written a book about some of it and now and I’m writing a second book which has more depth and detail, and I create my art. So, I’m getting it out, and when I’m better I’ll do it through my work again by helping people with my lived experience, knowledge, and expertise. That’s how it’s done. So, talk to someone, before it’s too late.

I couldn’t speak for years, I had no confidence and no idea how to speak to others. This manifestation of physical disability is showing up in the extreme to remind me that I do have a voice now, and I can use it and I must use it to help others because if I don’t then it’s a waste, and I’m running away from my responsibilities as a bringer of love. There’s a wisdom that can come with the loss of anything and I’m feeling into the depths of this to look for it, unashamedly and without fear of what others will think. I can be a light for others who might be experiencing something similar. After all, what’s the point of having something traumatic happen to you if you’re not going to learn a lesson from it? The people who are around me and supporting me, they’re learning a lesson too. They’ve shown great patience in deciphering my poor speech, and I’m grateful for that. I’m looking forward to this changing and hoping for my abilities to fully return again so I can tell my stories once more and return to helping others, not only in the way I’m used to but this time with this experience behind me, supporting me, and showing me the way. This challenging but exciting journey continues to amaze me with the experiences it brings and I’ll keep searching for the meaning within it.