Thursday, September 12, 2013
Not an art post: Out with it
It's very rare that I write a personal post on my blog so here's one of those rare moments. I just finished reading 'Out With It' by Kelly Preston. It is a book about her life and stuttering. I saw Katherine giving an interview on the Today show and talking about the book got me intrigued. Why would it?
For the people who know me, I can be a bit soft spoken due to part of growing up in a family of loud people. It doesn't help that I have sensitive hearing (no, not superman sensitive). They just hurt when there's loud sounds. As a kid, as long as I could hear myself, it was good enough for me. I rarely spoke to other people as a kid except for friends and close family members. I can go real quiet at big functions or when there are strangers around. I just didn't know what to say and you could say my confidence level as a young girl was low. I'm sure everyone goes through those awkward years so that didn't help either. I did slowly grow out of it, gaining confidence along the way but always preferred writing to speaking. Irony that I don't write much on my blog. I've always concerned myself with what people thought when I open my mouth.
Till now, I still think I say dumb, useless stuff and all of this happens a lot in my head. My mind works faster than my mouth and when I try to speak, it's like one train carriages derails and other carriages starts crashing into one another. I just trip over words, a lot. The words I have prepared in my head just didn't make sense when I spoke. I have to repeat myself or just stay quiet and pretend no one heard me. I speak fine when I'm alone or with animals. The transition move from Singapore to Australia was a challenge to the way I spoke. After being here for years, I see that Singaporeans speak real fast and with different languages in a sentence. I could do that before but now my speech has slowed to the 'aussie' pace. I unconsciously practise a different technique with strangers where I try to slow my thoughts and my words will slowly match up. It works but the excitement when I see my friends and family members can cause me to trip up.
Moving and living by myself in Australia has helped so much and I'm so much more confident. I'm happy to have conversations with people. I teach part-time and my students are fantastic. They improve every week so something must be going right. I still have a bit of that quiet nature but it's part of who I am. Maybe that's why I got into my line of work. Let my art speak about who I am, what I can do. It's like a win-win situation to make art that people enjoy and for me to channel my voice through my works.
Of course I can't compare to my minor speech problems to stuttering but I share similar sentiments as the author. This book isn't just for people who stutter. There are elements in the book where I could easily identify especially the thoughts that goes through my head when I'm out of my comfort zone. It's a really great book and I would recommend it to anyone. Great insight into Katherine's childhood, challenges she faced and how she lived with it. What ever handicap you think you have, they're not handicaps. They're just part of you. I have other 'handicaps' even a deformed toe structure (no pictures!) but I've accepted they're all part of who I am and they're not going to hold me back from anything. Now that I have gotten this out (thought about whether to write this for days), time to get back to work. I am in the process of redesigning my website before the 'Adelaide Illustrators' exhibition in October and a certain idea of next Monday Faces. So stay tuned and thanks for reading.