I speak quickly.   Too quickly.

I have to repeat myself a zillion times a day. 

I am an expert in sentence restructuring because when I slow down too much, I lose the ability to hold the context of the thought I intended to express.  Like Porky Pig, I can change the direction of my sentence in mid-syllable.

I’ve taken speech therapy classes, and have improved massively through the years, but I still have never read a poem at any event where I left before someone told me that my speed did a disservice to my work.

This is where the old-me would have something to say.  I used to tell people to listen faster.  To quicken their wits and get back to me.

The new-me, the one that has taken anger management classes, the one who has consciously chosen a gentler life, listens more calmly to the critique.

I take a deep breath, and I tap my finger against my thigh to the rhythm of their speech pattern.  I match it, as much as possible.  I tell an old story, I let them know this is old advice, and I am working on it, and I have been working on it, and it is work, and I am a work in progress.

I take a deep breath, and I remind myself that they want to understand.  They are trying to listen, and it is frustrating to want to stand in my rain and be hit by my waterfall instead.

I take a deep breath and let it out.  And I let that air become space between them and every other person who has said something about how I speak.  I don’t want to clump them together. They are not the news station that recorded my award-winning drug awareness speech and laughed about how no one could understand it.  They are not the friends of friends who impersonate me as if I were an overly-caffeinated squirrel. They are not the doctors who nod as I speak, only to later claim they could not make out my words.  They are not the articles that say girls who talk slowly are sexier, not the business people who say a steady cadence is the most professional, not the automated banker who understands my accented relatives and cannot understand me. 

They are not the “what”, “what”, “I’m sorry”, “Pardon?”, “Huh?” “Say again”, “I didn’t quite hear you”, “Can you say it slower”, “can you spell it”, “I only got one word”, “what”, “what”, “what” that litters my day.

They are an individual person who wants to hear my individual story.

And at the same time, I apply that new-me gentleness to myself.

I am a person who deserves to be heard.

I work hard to be better.  I am not a speech disorder.  My fingers are not metronomes.  It is not possible for my truest voice to do a disservice to my work. It creates my work.  It is my work.

I think in rapid-fire waves and intricate oceaning and my words are hulled in a way that guarantees they will survive it, in a way that guarantees they will float.

My words glide over my thoughts, a sailboat on the sea at dark, and the constellations shine above them and anyone who chooses to settle themselves inside has room to bring their own experiences.  Room to stretch their legs. Room to lay back in the boat I have built and be lullaby’d by my swift and inconsistent stride.

My voice is my trademark, and every time I speak it, I am shaping it, sailing it to new horizons.

My voice is my trademark, and it has already survived oceans, and the stars always find it, and the daylight always warms it, and it is perfect.   

And it goes too quickly,

and it is perfect. 

And it stumbles too much,

and it is perfect.

Just the way it is.

This post inspired by Renee’s, which made me have all the feels.  Please check it out and send her love: 


20 thoughts on “rapid

  1. I watch a lot of speeches on YouTube where I change the speed setting to 1.25 or 1.5 times the normal speed, mostly to save time without having to skip any words but also so if I meet anyone who talks fast I can still understand them, because as much as people should work to be understood, we also need to work to understand. Right?


    Liked by 5 people

      1. What I enjoy most is understanding people well enough to explain what they just said to someone who didn’t understand, usually it’s because people just use different flavours of metaphor. Language can get so colourful people get distracted from the meaning, but if I can get it to work with the speedy speeches too then all the better for me right?

        ECHO ECHO

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “They are trying to listen, and it is frustrating to want to stand in my rain and be hit by my waterfall instead.” I giggled a little and cried a little and thank you. Perhaps one day soon I will emerge from my thunderstorm and be as gentle as you are. I don’t remember noticing your rate of speech when I saw you. Forwhatthatisworth. ♥♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t notice yours either, and I was wondering if it was because we both can listen easily to those who speak quickly, or if because we were both doing the thing where we are quiet/careful/slow for others. That possibility made me a little sad. I did the giggle cry through your post too (plus, a full blown laugh at the wrestling-a-sumo-wrestler-body-language, bahahaha!). Anyways, thank you for inspiring my post today. My mind was blank!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. in academia we call this “shaping at the point of utterance” and it is an essential part of learning, each utterance serves to feed the birth of the next thought that evaluates, elaborates or corrects what was said until we are satisfied with the shape of the idea has been created by our words. Of course, this externalised version of an inner dialogue can be disconcerting to listeners, but some people just need to do this to understand and develop. There is nothing imperfect about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The rate at which you express yoruself, and the intonations of your voice are two the the things I admire most from our conversations. They made me feel at home when I elft hte bubble of the twon I was raised in, and provided solice when I felt lost. I undrestand the need to adapt to your audience, and I wish you much success int hat regard, but I hope one day we get to speak again, quickly, too quickly.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Here all this time I have been blaming my poor hearing (I wear aids) and/or my not so quick mind (I’m really getting old) as the reason half of your beautiful words fly right by me. When in reality you are just speaking too fast. 😊 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I get that a fair bit too, though usually in the context of performing poetry (though when I’m caffeinated or drunk I also revert to my normal speaking speed, which tends to be too fast for many). But oh man, watching my performances from my TDSB feature, I definitely sped up after my mistakes in the 3rd poem to compensate for wasted time and honestly I can’t actually recognize a few words I’m saying even though I know what the words are.

    It does give your performances a pretty distinctive sound though. Most people, when they perform too fast, are usually either clearly nervous or clearly passionate. You go pretty fast but your delivery is calm and matter of fact and understated. I don’t know anyone else who performs this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I say “pardon?” a lot, and ask people to repeat themselves often- but it isn’t because of them, it’s because of me. I sometimes have trouble hearing words in sound, and I miss things a lot- it never occurred to me that my inability to hear people might beperceived as their thinking that I was placing the blame of that on them.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never had trouble understanding you. Your speed is not a burden, it’s simply part of who you are, and I’ve always recognized that.

    Liked by 2 people


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