Q: Imagine what it would be like to not talk for a whole day.
TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST, I have no idea how to respond to this or begin with that matter. Just writing this post is bringing tears to my eyes, I can barely see what I am writing through the blurriness of my vision and the tears.
First of all if I couldn't speak then I how I would use my manners? I advocate being etiquette in all situations possible, how I would thank the person who opened the door for me as they were leaving? How I would be able to say please and thank you? I don't know sign language very well and even if I did not everyone knows so that would be out of the question.
How I would convey my ideas and thoughts to someone I am speaking to? Like in meetings? When I am in a conversation with someone, what if they wanted my advice how I would tell them that I understand their pain and problem, how can I advise them what I think they should do?
This also makes me question how I would make my needs known, I mean if I want something I just say it I suppose another way would be to show them but still they would need to have some idea of what I am talking about 😨😰.
Also, what if I wanted to talk to someone about my problems how I would do that? I know I could text the person but it is not the same feeling as opening up to someone close to you and sharing your thoughts and concerns. How would I joke with my friends and family? I can't imagine not being able to tell my friends and family that I love them very much without words.
Okay, what if I could see something wrong happening or an accident about to happen, how I would let the other person know before its too late? In very serious situations, this can make a big difference. e.g. giving testimony to a crime you have witnessed.
The only thing I can say is that if I was like Steffi or not being able to talk at all, I really don't know how I would cope. Words are very powerful and vital in everyone's life, having this taken away from me I would be completely and utterly devastated. This is how I communicate with everyone, but it makes me think twice next time I become angry, next time I use harsh words, say something I don't mean to.
This really makes me reflect, I want to use my voice for good and be better. I want to stand up against all the injustice in this world, spread love, make people feel good about themselves, be proud of their achievements, bring someone up and inspire them.
I have to applaud people who have these kind of condition and still live their life everyday to the fullest, in my eyes they are the true superheroes of this world. I hope this had made you think like it has made me, let's make an effort to use our voice for good and to help others and spread love.
As a bonus: this is an extract where Steffi describes five awful situations to be mute:
To be the girl who doesn’t talk, the girl who dithers in the corner
then shrugs a reply, I have Tem. And if there’s only one person in
the world I can talk to I’ll choose her every time.
The top five worst times to be mute
5) When you need the toilet
I am six years old and Tem is off school with suspected mumps (it
will turn out to be the flu). I navigate my silent day alone, without
my trusty interpreter, who pays as much attention to my needs as
she does her own. Everything is fine until I realize I need to pee.
I cannot say so. I can’t even lift my hand to gesture at the door.
I sit, rigid, staring at my worksheet. I wet myself. ‘Ewwwwww!’
the class screams in delight.
4) When you’re bleeding
I’m eight years old. We’re on a school trip at a family farm. We’ve
been divided into smaller groups – I’m a Giggly Goat, Tem is a Happy
Hen. I catch my hand on a barbed-wire fence and rip an impressive
hole from the pad of my thumb all the way across my palm. I try
to figure out how to tell the staff member looking after us – Julie –
without making too much of a fuss, and end up cradling my hand
to my chest for the next twenty minutes until Julie cheerfully asks
me what I’m hiding. I show her my hand – now a bloody, fleshy
mess – and she screams, backs away and faints.
3) When you need a new pencil
Eleven years old. SATs. We are ten minutes into Maths Paper 1
and the end of my pencil snaps clean off and goes skittering across
the floor. I know I am supposed to put my hand up and ask for
a spare; I know my teacher, Miss Kapsalis, will give me another
if I just ask. But it is not only my mouth that has frozen shut –
my limbs have gone rigid, my wrists scratching the splintered
ridge of my exam desk, the pencil in my clenched fist. I can’t even
move. I sit, panicking, for twenty minutes until Miss Kapsalis,
who is walking up and down the aisles of our desks to check for
cheating, finally notices. She lets out a noise that is groan, gasp
and horror all in one and drops to my side.
‘Steffi!’ she whispers, even though she’s not supposed to talk
to us during the exam. ‘You need to answer the questions.’
I uncurl my fingers and the broken pencil drops on to the
table. I’m given a new pencil with fifteen minutes to go. Needless
to say, I don’t exactly come top of the class.
2) When you look a bit suspicious
Twelve years old. Tem and I are spending a Saturday afternoon
together mooching around town. We’re in one of those bit-ofeverything
shops that sells clothes, twee gifts and cushions. Tem
is trying on a vintage prom dress and I am standing in the corner,
gazing at a shelf full of candles. The woman who owns the shop
is suddenly at my side, asking me in a threateningly gentle voice
what I think I am doing. I stare at her, confused and panicked in
equal measure. What could have been a polite ‘I’m just browsing,
thanks’ exchange turns into her getting increasingly irate and me
getting more and more frozen. No amount of ardent head-shaking
is enough for me to convince her I’m not stealing anything. She
is threatening to call the police when Tem comes parading out of
the changing room wearing a black-and-white polka dot dress,
announcing, ‘Just tell me how beautiful I am!’ before she sees us
both, clocks the situation in less than a second and hurries across
the shop floor to smooth things over.
1) When your best friend needs you
Thirteen years old. I am in a stadium, watching Tem run the
800m final of the County Championships. She wins the race and
is crackling with electricity and endorphins, leaping all over the
track, hugging me, letting go, bouncing, cartwheeling. It’s the
first county race she’s ever won. She’s just collected her medal
and is standing in the crowd, beaming down at it. And that’s
when a woman, the mother of one of Tem’s competitors, says to
someone – to this day I don’t know who exactly she was talking
to – ‘They shouldn’t let those ones compete; everyone knows
their bodies make them faster. It’s not fair on our girls.’
For one clueless moment I don’t even understand what she
means, but something about the sudden slackness in Tem’s
face makes it clear. There’s no hidden meaning, no nice liberal
understanding or context. The woman is being just plain racist
about my beloved Tem, right in front of her. And this is it: the
most shameful moment of my life. Because I don’t say a word. I
just stand there, even as I see the light leave Tem’s eyes, even as
she looks at me for just a second, even though she spends most
of her days looking after me. No one else says anything either,
but I know it is my silence that is the worst. My silence that is
Later, when I try to apologize – awkward and tongue-tied –
she waves me away, tells me she understands that sometimes my
words just don’t come, that she knows I would have spoken if I
So here’s the thing: this was the worst time to be mute, but in
a way it also saved us both. Because she didn’t have to find out
whether I would have been brave enough to stand up for her.
And neither did I.
Let's talk: Imagine if you were in Steffi's situation, how would you deal with it? How would you cope? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Peace out x
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