When you lose your native tongue

All good deeds will come undone

All the words you said before

Leave you when you can’t say more

Good ones ask the reason why

Bad ones hardly even try

When you lose your native tongue

Empty lips will fall on none

I could never imagine what losing my voice for an extended period of time is like in any way that was close to the truth without living it. You really have no idea the implications of not being able to speak until you go through it. It’s given me a lot of perspective on the struggle that people with other disabilities must face. No matter how much I can relate my experience to theirs, I know now more than ever that I really can’t understand what they’re going through.

Until you can’t wrap your arms around your dad, until you can’t hear your best friend’s voice telling you they love you, until you can’t remember what you wore on your first date with your husband you can’t begin to understand what it’s like. 

Language is such an interesting thing to lose. It is very easy for people to marginalize someone who can’t speak up for themselves. It has been interesting to see who doesn’t value what I have to say because I’m not loud enough to say it over them. At the same time, there are people who listen very closely when I speak, because it’s a rare occasion now. 

You really have to fight to keep your head above water. It’s so easy to say “screw everyone who doesn’t pay attention to me” and just blame them. It’s so much easier to concede to that truth than to try to prove that I do have something to say and it is valuable, whether you listen or not. And if you don’t, it’s your loss. 

I think elderly people might feel similarly. It would be easy to sit by and let someone else’s opinion that you’re best days are over and you’re no longer contributing to anything greater than yourself. You have to really want to continue to keep going, because you’re not only fighting your own self doubt, you’re having to ignore all these external voices as well.

I view disabilities so much differently than I did before this happened. I’ll try to keep this with me when I’m better. The loudest voice isn’t always the one that should be heard.


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