Suffering in Silence

October 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

This is the third day in a row that I have had no voice. And today I learned that when you have laryngitis, you’re really not supposed to whisper, either. Normally, I’d welcome the opportunity to “practice silence” as some kind of spiritual exercise. (Normally? What am I talking about? What is this “normal” life that my current life is just a temporary break from? Hello! Don’t you remember what the nice man with the shopping cart told you? YOU’RE A MOTHER NOW! YOU HAD YOUR CANDLELIT DINNER, NOW YOU HAVE HER!) But anyway, today I am finding that not being able to talk is 1) super inconvenient for obvious reasons, and 2) fucking with me mentally for reasons that may not be as obvious, so let me elucidate for you below.

I usually put my daughter down for her nap with a lot of verbiage to smooth the transition. I like to get her on board with what’s going on. If she says she doesn’t want to take a nap, for instance, I tell her about how nice it feels to sleep cuddling her stuffed animals. Usually she gets pretty psyched when I remind her of those guys. If she’s really resistant, I tell her that when she’s 5 she can stop taking naps, but until then she has to, because she’s 2 and 2 year-olds take naps. And then I name all of her friends who are napping at that very moment. This pretty much always does the trick. The day they stop working, I’ll have to come up with some new material, but so far these (excellent) points are enough.

Today, though, I couldn’t say any of this stuff. She went down for her nap crying, which is very rare for her, although I know that there are lots of kids who cry-it-out all the time and I am not judging their parents, so don’t get all butthurt if that’s you. I just don’t happen to do it that way, and my daughter’s not used to it, and when it happened today I fucking hated it.

If I thought there were things I could have said, short things, I would have whispered them despite the fact that I’m not supposed to. But honestly, my points are all multi-word sentences, and usually along with the points themselves I have to supply answers to her counter-arguments (“But why?” being the main one). That’s a lot of whispering for something that isn’t even guaranteed to work. And ALSO… being sick is making me really tired and irritable, and I was just eager to get out of there and come make myself a cup of tea with honey and write a blog post about how bad I am feeling.

But mostly I feel shitty because there should have been some way I could have communicated with her non-verbally, like through mother-daughter telepathy. I mean, are we not close? I made a point of putting her naked newborn self on my naked chest as much as possible when she was born, because it was super snuggly, but ALSO because I was under the impression that I was establishing the kind of connection that a silly bout of laryngitis could never disrupt. I just wanted to kiss her forehead and have the words “You’re 2 and you can stop taking naps when you’re 5” just sink through to her brain. Or even just the 2 and the 5, and she could fill in the blanks. I would even settle for a general sense of love and sleepiness washing over her like some kind of wordless cotton candy-colored mist. Oh well.

Anyway, she eventually stopped crying and fell asleep, but when she did, instead of feeling relieved, I felt… lonely. Isolated. It is odd to be unable to talk to someone on the phone if you wanted to (even though I hardly ever talk on the phone when she’s napping because our place is small and I’m afraid of waking her up). And I kept thinking that if someone came to the door selling magazine subscriptions, I would have to just stand there listening to them because I’m pretty sure that they are trained to stay until they are explicitly told to GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE I AM NOT GOING TO BUY ANY OF YOUR SHITTY MAGAZINES BECAUSE I DO NOT EVEN KNOW HOW TO READ OKAY? And that just wouldn’t ring true if I wrote it down.

It’s also been odd these past few days to not really be able to talk to my husband. Not to be able to clarify WHY I want fresh chicken soup from the grocery store instead of canned if they have it. He thinks it’s because of the noodles. He keeps asking me if the noodles are okay in the different kinds he’s gotten me, and I smile and nod but the truth is, it was never the noodles that were the problem. It’s the chicken. IT’S THE CHICKEN!!!! The chicken in most canned chicken soup is weird, dried out chicken by-product. The fresh soup at grocery stores *sometimes* has better chicken. But when you can’t talk, you have to let some things go unsaid. Maybe I’ll tell him when I can talk again. I’ll probably forget though!

Beyond my husband and daughter, I haven’t even tried to talk to anyone else. Except, oh yeah, the doctor who gave me a strep test. That was pretty awesome. (It came back negative.) The visit and the test cost $119. That’s WITH a discount for not having health insurance. I don’t even want to talk about it. Luckily, I guess I can’t.

But anyway, the worrisome thing about this whole laryngitis experience is that I am turning more and more inward. And, not surprisingly I guess, when I turn really inward I start seeing things I hate. Like, I’ve noticed that I’m lazy. Do you know that I would much rather sit than stand? Also? I would much rather lie down than sit. Being sick, I have a lot of very recent evidence to back this up. Therefore: it is the truth about me. Also, it’s why I’m not skinny. And it’s also a metaphor for why I’ve never “gone for it” with any career plan. And don’t even get me started about what this means for the example I’m setting for my daughter. I might cry if I thought about that, and there is a lot of nasty mucus going on in my body already, and my throat is killing me just sitting here and not doing anything with it, if I start crying I will be pretty much inflicting terrible pain on myself for no reason and that is so stupid it will make me cry harder and isn’t that just like me? To get stuck in a spiral of crying and stupidity?

Like I said, not being able to talk is fucking with me mentally. That was the whole point of this blog post, so if it was meandering and self-pitying, that’s kind of okay because it just proves my point. And I would rather be right than dignified. (That’s another truth about myself that I’ve noticed since having laryngitis.)

Meanwhile, make sure you tell me to feel better soon. You do want me to feel better soon, right? What? You could care less? Okay, well that doesn’t make any sense. I think you meant to say that you couldn’t care less. Think about it. See? I’m right.

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