A Way to Combat Your Verbal Restraint
Updated: Jan 10
"A Way To Combat Your Verbal Restraint"
They say the eyes are the first thing you notice about a person. But with you, it was your words, the way you talked. In fact, I only recently discovered you have green eyes: I used to think they were brown.
I think I first noticed your speech because it was as far from mine as possible.
Your speech was cautious, concealed, and mature. You almost gave nothing away. Sometimes you could tell a whole story without revealing any of your secrets, anything deeply, genuinely about you. Your speech was black and white, not without color because you didn’t have anything important to say but because what you had to say didn’t put you at any disadvantage; it didn’t uncover anything peculiar. The amplitude of your sound waves was 1, nothing less, and nothing more. It stayed constant throughout the entire period of the sinusoid. Everything you said lacked faults; it lacked imperfection: every word was chosen carefully, and every part of speech was grammatically correct. Even your descriptions of TV shows were spot on, never leaving out an important detail or mixing up characters. The times that you did make a mistake, you acted so smoothly to cover it up; you attempted to keep a cool façade externally, but I knew inside, in your perfectionist, scientific head, you were freaking out.
Yet I, however, was immensely different. My words were colorful because I did not want to hide. Their amplitudes were ever changing, sometimes .5, sometimes 100, endlessly altering to fit the different moods I was in. My tone could go from sincerely angry to extremely jubilant in a manner of 5 seconds. When I made a mistake, I didn’t cover it up; instead, I laughed and got embarrassed, unabashedly showcasing my lack of perfection. When I told a story, I made sure to include as many details as possible, interweaving all parts of my identity into a 1-minute occurrence. In that time, you’d know my favorite songs, characters, bands, and movies; you knew anecdotes of my best and most embarrassing moments.
I think you sometimes wondered why I revealed all this information. When I said something personal, you looked at me with a puzzled face, figuring me out. Yet, you seemed intrigued, and, setting aside all judgements for a second, you allowed me to continue. You began to relax, and I continued with my story. I felt your watching me, and the added pressure of your intense eyes made me second-guess my heedless character. I lived in fear, wanting to die from scrutiny, but, in reality, I faced none. Your face, initially perceived by me as one full of disapproval, was instead full of absolute wonder and dumbfoundment.
Now, I’ve said something dumb. Again. Drawing from your confusion in my mistake, I feel foolish; what a stupid thing to say! We continue on with the conversation, but I can’t ignore it. Looking down at my feet, I try to stymie my laughing, desperately attempting to take on your stringent, fault-free persona: I even try to disregard my past statement, acting as if that rash, impulsive statement never came out of my mouth.
But now, I seem crazy! My head bowed and my attempt to hide my eyes from yours results in my body taking on such a bizarre shape that inevitably propels me to laughter. Loud laughter. I can’t help it; this strict, disciplined cadence is definitely not for me. My immature vibrancy spills out from under the surface of my studious brain, filling the room with pure joy and embarrassment, my prefrontal cortex appearing to have vanished.
You take a while. Your stoic face is quite concerning, and, for some time, I grow concerned with your lack of action. Your face is unchanged, its proportions consistent. But finally, piece by piece, you allow yourself to break free.
Your eyes are the first thing to go. They begin to lose their rigidness, altering into something shapeless, becoming so soft and so loving. They invite me in, longing to establish some form of connection where your words never could. They showcase your own permeability; without your brain knowing, they have told me everything there is to know about you, all I’ve ever wanted.
Finally, your laughter now combines with mine, and it’s wild. It’s uncontrollable and reckless, far superior to any attempts of audacious emotion I had tried to conjure myself. Our laughter’s hard to discern, its being exaggerated from the summation of every time we held ourselves in.
Perhaps your eyes were there the whole time; I just never noticed. Your repressed words made you distant from my foreign speech, but your eyes, full of green color, wanted to know me, painfully looking to establish raw relation. Somewhere in your academic brain, you had an even stronger heart that longed for my kind of personal articulation.
Perhaps the eyes are the most important part of a person’s persona. For you, they were a way to reach me when your whole verbal culture was based upon discretion.