Sometimes I think that language is so limited. Words often escape me when my therapist asks me questions. When she asks me to expand on something, or to dive a bit deeper into feelings. Suddenly, I feel like I cannot think of even one word. I lack the vocabulary to accurately reflect it, especially when it is something new, or something I’ve never talked about before (which often happens).
I’ve gotten asked before about the label: bisexuality. I got asked if I had never heard of it, would I still identify as it? If nobody talked about being bisexual, if I never got exposed to the concept of it, would I still identify as such? People don’t realize that all it would do is to remove my ability to articulate it so clear and concise. I would still have the attractions that I do.
Articulation allows for expanded communication. There’s other forms of communication, but articulation is dependable. And while it can still be misconstrued, it is typically effective. It allows us to build community, to be validated, and to work together.
Most forms of communication work best in tangent. When they work in unison, the message is pretty clear. It gets messy when some aspects are missing, like tone or body language. It can be easier to misconstrue without all of the aspects.
However, when articulation fails you, all you have is body language, and the tone of your “I don’t know” and maybe a “I’m not sure how to word it”. Thankfully, my therapist is super patient when I can’t seem to articulate. Usually, she can tell when it is just a lack of an ability to verbalize, or if it is just a matter of not having the word choice and structure. She knows how to help me out so I don’t get upset at my failure to articulate.
Some of this, I imagine comes from a lot of me wanting to think and have my sentences and answers formed prior to speaking. So catching me off-guard with a question that I wasn’t expecting, it can feel exasperating to not have an answer formed. That exasperation affects my ability to actually focus and form my answer.
This, I think, explains a lot of my anxiety for games like “around the world” or “hot seat” having to respond mainly out of instinct, with little time to think is not my forte. Games where I have to verbalize in some manner, like some games that my therapy group sometimes plays for a mindfulness exercise. It causes me to freeze up, and not feel like I can do it. I can sometimes push through it, and participate in a very robotic manner. But I’m not having fun with it, I’m just trying to get through it. Now that I feel like I have a choice, I often opt out of participating in these games. In school, it never felt like I had a choice, and the exposure never really made me any better at it.
I have yet to find a solution to this extreme panic and dread I feel when I am presented with a game, or some manner of unknown verbalization. I much prefer to know the questions that I have to answer, and have time to formulate those answers. Sometimes it doesn’t take much time because they are questions I have answered before, and other times I need much longer.
Articulation is important for me, as I’m sure it is for others. I strive to articulate my best through every medium. I don’t like uncertainty and I try to prevent it for others when I am speaking.
Articulation is great when you have it because it can send a clear message. Labels and identities are just one of those great products of articulation. It is especially effective when talking about simple things like the weather. But, it can also be very difficult when talking about more complex topics such as feelings or gender.
It’s also a great tool for discovering aspects about yourself: I didn’t know how to articulate my anxiety around verbal games until writing this post. And now, I know it is about articulation, how I like to articulate to the world, and recognizing that some things don’t coincide with that.
I hope I clearly articulate and put across the messages that I want to send with these blog posts, and with my interactions with those who are a part of my life. How do you like to articulate? Do you usually like fully-formed thoughts and sentences before verbalizing? Or do you just go with the flow and verbalize as it comes to you?
Thank you all for reading my articulations! It means a lot to me that you take your time out of your day to read what I have to say.