It happened again today. It took me immediately back to second grade.
I’d been called upon to read a portion of a book for our little group sitting around the table at school. I liked our teacher. She was kind, motherly, young. Our little Christian school had about 20 students in total. It felt safe and familiar. Each time I was called upon to read, my throat would close up so that only a tight, wispy squeak came out of me. It was really frustrating when I couldn’t use my voice and I was grateful for an understanding teacher who gently asked questions (are you feeling okay? are you nervous?) and then let me pass on reading for the day. I didn’t think my throat was closing up due to nerves, but it stumped my parents and my teachers – though, I did hear more than once that it was probably all “in my head”.
Today, I led a meeting and that familiar annoying tightness that squeezed out the strength and fluidity of my voice suddenly appeared. No amount of hot tea, water, or coughing was helping. Maybe it was all “in my head”, but still very frustrating.
Still, I’m grateful for the experience today. I remember big brushstrokes of my childhood, but details tend to evade me. To remember the echo-y classroom with the cold metal folding chairs where we took turns reading was a surprise. I immediately remembered who I was then. Little “me” was rather fearless. I was tough, lively, always-in-motion, happy. I like to think I’m still those things, but they may look less obvious now. It feels good to recall the freer (albeit childish) expressions of who I am. Today, I loved having that physical reminder that I still carry that little fearless, feisty person with the occasional tight, squeaky voice with me.
Has a smell, a sight, or a physical experience triggered memories for you? What does it remind you about yourself – little “you”, who may have been less censored than adult “you”? What are 4-5 words you would use to describe little “you”? Do you see traces of those words in yourself today?