Does anyone else suffer from word vomit?
I have an extremely bad case of it. As in it’s embarrassing. And I want it to stop. But not really. It’s kind of hard to explain. So when I’m in a situation in which I’m particularly nervous, or talking to someone new and have that extra sense of needing to make a good impression, my mouth just doesn’t seem to stop moving? And I know I’m doing it. And I’ll acknowledge it, like ‘ Oh god I’m so sorry, I really need to stop talking, you must be getting so annoyed at my voice, and I’m talking so much rubbish.’
What. On. Earth?
By acknowledging that I have word vomit, I am talking even more, and it really is just a vicious circle. Sometimes I just stop mid sentence, because I’ve decided that enough is enough. My hand does this weird gesture and I take a deep breath and shut the whole operation down, because otherwise, I think I’d just talk forever.
Maybe that’s why I want to be a personal trainer. If someone is on a treadmill or a bike, they physically shouldn’t be able to talk to me, because they’d be out of breath, so, I have a whole hour of being able to talk at someone and they have to listen. Selfish it may be, but I have a huge amount of words just floating in my head on an hourly basis so if I can get it all out and be helping someone get healthy at the same time, it’s surely a win-win no?
It sometimes does get frustrating though. The word waterfalls that come out of me, coupled with the fact that I find it hard to excuse myself from conversations, meant that the other day, I went up to a trainer at the gym to introduce myself and ask a favour (I need a human body to measure for an assessment for the PT course and the gym is the only place I can think of that has a tape measure), and something that should have taken me five minutes ended up being a half an hour long chat, because of which I missed my bus and had to walk home.
Honestly, if I didn’t have places to be at certain times I’d never get anything done.
I do have a theory on why this is a thing though, so buckle up and get ready for my wee story.
So, growing up, my mum was very much a quiet person. I mean, she herself was loud, but in general, our household was quiet, and we were constantly told to hush and be less noisy. It’s fine, she and my dad worked weird hours so now, as an adult, I understand that the need to catch up on sleep is very important if you need to function properly and provide for your family.
There used to be a lady-close family friend- who looked after us, and she was pretty much the same. Basically, most of the people my mum knew worked in hospitality, and, as you guys out there who work in restaurants or bars may already know, people who work in that particular industry function on a different body clock.
So, again, it was more of the same… and, being young and impressionable, my little brain thought that if I was to be quiet at home, then oh, it must be something I need to do in school as well! That, and of course a whole lot of other stuff, I can’t blame things on just one factor, I was terribly shy and quiet as a wee mouse in school. Not just shy, cripplingly so. I was terrified of getting caught talking in class, obeyed authority (teachers) as if they could actually arrest me for doing something wrong, and tried to keep under the radar as much as possible.
Even amongst my group of friends I was cautious. Scared to be too ‘me’ and scared to make too much noise and have people get weary of me. Silly, I know, but young children’s brains interpret things in a way that adults don’t.
So, shyness took over. All the way through school I was a timid little thing, kept my head down and got my work done… and then, I think it must have been just as I started going to University, I thought what the f***?
Did I really expect myself to go through life being overly considerate about how much I was talking and how people would feel about it? Did I want to stay silent during all the group conversations I’d ever be involved in forever even if I had a valid point to make just in case someone told me to be quiet?
Hell to the no.
So I did the whole cliche thing and went off to uni where no one knew me and decided not to give a fuck. No one at uni knew my story, that I had been this terribly shy little girl, and I took full advantage of it. Now, if I tell people know what I was like in school, they don’t believe me. Which is fine you know? I’m not like that anymore. Again, I don’t have the correct terminology to be able to express myself well enough, but it was like this whole time at school I was suppressing the real ‘me’, and the shyness and cautiousness that I wore as a sort of mask to protect my own feelings as well as out of fear of finding myself in trouble became a normality for me.
After that whole backstory I want to mention my theory is simple.
By not allowing myself to talk as much as I would have wanted to or been able to express myself the way I wanted to all those years, the words now come tumbling out because a) my words and mouth are making up for lost time and b) perhaps a little part of my brain is scared it’ll happen again and it’ll have to shut up so it just expels as many thoughts and feelings as it possibly can.
Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or an academic, I have no idea if this theory could ring true at all, it’s just something my brain has come up with during my pondering-life-moments at night time. Does anyone else do that? I’m so jealous of people who fall asleep really quickly, it always takes so long for me to drift off.
Disclaimer 2: In no way is this supposed to be a sob story. It is what is is, I am what I am, I can’t change history and you can’t change me. Sorry. Not sorry.
So, now, with my word vomit situation…
I love talking to people, I really do, but I always forget about this filter thing you need to do because the bit that censors my brain before the words get to my mouth must be on a lag or something. I usually don’t realise I’ve said something wrong until it’s done. Sometimes hours later, when it’s way too late to even do anything about it.
At times, I just laugh at it. Have you ever heard of the theory that it’s a good thing to date someone who is awkward because they’ll do weird stuff and at least you’ll always have something to talk about and laugh at? Well, I guess word vomit is like that, but not dating.
When I went to Spain on my year abroad, I met a guy and we became quite friendly (he was about 10 years older than me so the friendship was totally platonic, and was actually amazing because he would just show me and this other British girl we were friends with around the area we were living in.) Anyway. After about 8 months of being friends, there was a night we all got raging drunk because it was my 21st birthday and because we were in Spain, and everyone loves a good piss-up right? We were all sitting on the beach, and my Spanish friend turned to me and said
‘I remember so well the first conversation we had… we introduced ourselves to one another and then you told me about how happy you were at having found blue cheese at the market.’
Which is true by the way, I was extremely happy to have arrived in Spain and found my favourite cheese. Don’t judge.
We giggled about it for a bit, but even to this day I remember him saying that- and that’s my point. During the actual conversation my brain may have been going ‘Oh shit Catherine, abort, abort, you’re talking about bloody cheese to a stranger,’ but ultimately, it’s a moment that I can look back on and laugh at.
So, my word vomit may be annoying, and over here in Australia it’s even worse because people don’t really understand what I’m saying, but, if you sift through all the stuff that’s just nonsense or me talking about the possum we found last week on our porch (true story, it was very cute and I found out that possums can’t see in the daylight) you might actually get some pretty decent information!
…bet you didn’t know possums are day-blind? I told you I can be useful. Next time you win a pub quiz because of that nugget of knowledge you can thank me by buying me a drink. Prosecco is my favourite, but any wine will do thanks.