I can’t imagine what it must be like not to feel unusual every waking day, and whether or not I ought to believe such people exist, I do. Maybe they’re not online. Or maybe they make online unbearable. The Internet is good when the loneliest person who feels like a freak clicks somewhere and reads someone else also lamenting the same lonely freakishness.
For years I’ve convinced myself that I’m the only person on the planet who, when writing by hand, leaps ahead a letter or two before they’re supposed to. I’ll start on “the” and go “t” and then “e” and then stop, rewrite an “h” over the “e”, and then go do the “e” again. I do this on the board when I write on the board in classes, and I know my students notice and I always pretend I’m not freaking the fuck out.
I do this when I speak, too, in that my thought comes to me faster than my mouth can form it, and so I rarely enunciate. My brain moves too fast. What an arrogant problem to decide I have! And yet: what else is the Internet for than googling one’s shameful arrogant problems?
Last night I found this forum discussion: Does Your Brain Go Faster Than Your Mouth/Hands? That I found it on a discussion board for people on the autism spectrum is something I’m continuing to ignore. Here’s what I was made to feel less lonely and freakish by:
I can’t sort out my writing though – I’m constantly thinking way ahead of myself when I’m writing, and sometimes I find that because I’ve been thinking about a particular word I’m going to write a bit later, I’ve actually half-written one word and merged it with the word I was thinking about. My handwriting is a terrible mess.
My handwriting is a terrible mess. I think of all of these things—my clumsy leaping ahead while writing, the general mess of my penmanship, my froggy voice that fails every time to be clear and project—as failings. They are ways I disappoint and come up short.
Whether or not this is a good way to see my behaviors, the Internet, when it’s good, shows me that other people struggle with the same problems. Solidarity. Solidarity gives me objectivity. These aren’t necessarily failings if successful people manage them. Now: what do I want to do about these features, if anything?
It struck me that one useful project might be to start writing into or about the things that make me feel alone and freakish, because I have to believe from all the evidence shown that I’m going to reach someone like me, and maybe we in our distance can help each other out.
Incidentally, on looking around for voice specialists (yes, it gets this bad sometimes that I’m willing to pay another expert to fix me in this other way), I came across what speech pathologists call the “Rainbow Passage” which from what I can tell comes from an old voice articulation textbook from the 1960s. I’m becoming obsessed with it:
When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.