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I shout through ink

05:02 AM July 14, 2019

“With every word unspoken, hope becomes…”

For a brief moment, I paused. By Jove, I needed only one word for the poem to be completed, but here I was, at a loss.

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Well, this picture of my frustration doesn’t seem to be unusual. I have a speech problem, though I can still communicate. How did I get it? I don’t know. I often can’t say a word — or anything —whenever I feel tensed. But I always feel this tension in my life, so I often can’t say something.

How is it like? It’s like trying to say the simple word “apple,” but you only end up with lips pressed and ready to utter, but stuck at that.

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Yes, I experienced bullying when I was in elementary school. I don’t categorize them as mere “bad” experiences, but as traumas that exacerbated my speech problem.

There are times when I need to buy something at a local store and regard it with great anxiety as my doom, because then I will just likely end up communicating through hand gestures or the usual nod and shake of the head.

And if I get lucky — which I always am not — I could probably say the thing I want to buy or, if the heavens spared a little light, I could say the Kapampángan words “wa” and “ali,” which mean yes and no in English.

I’ve become immune to the awkward silence that follows whenever they wait for my response. Oftentimes, I just improvise. I write down the stuff I want to buy and casually hand the list over. It pains me when I can’t even say the word “thank you.”

I am growing up, and I still have to carry this handicap every time. That is why I choose not to speak much when meeting new people, pretending that I am somewhat the “silent type” and hiding in this false pretense. With years of suffering from this condition, I have observed that it somehow lessens whenever I am with friends I have known for a long time.

Although therapy is available, there is this existential fear that cripples me, robbing me of the  courage to go.

Amid the struggle, I turn to writing as something that will literally set my voice free. In every blot of ink I use is every word that sustains my stifled voice. I shout through ink.

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“For with every word unspoken, hope becomes barren.”

* * *

Luis Bonifacio, 18, studies psychology at Holy Angel University. He’s a dissenter from conformity, and is hooked on newspapers and coffee every morning.

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TAGS: bullying, Luis Bonifacio, speech problem, Young Blood
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