They say women talk a lot. (In my opinion men talk a lot more!) But, as in many other things, I'm not your average woman. I really don't say much, and lately there's been very good reason for it, one I only realized fully this past week.
You see, I had quite a few meetings that required discussion over coffee or across rooftops during the week. And I really, really struggled to get through them. Without fail, after 5 minutes of talking my voice would start to give out - it would be physically too painful to actually get a word to exit my voicebox. I'd be off coughing and choking and trying to speak - without a whole lot of success.
It's pretty scary, I tell you. To find out that where you used to have a great speaking voice and could get up in front a load of people to talk for an hour, now you simply can't. You can't project your voice, you can't speak for any length of time, you can't even voice words that make sense at times - your tongue simply won't form what's in your head for fear of the resulting pain.
What's caused it? I suspect it's the "use it or lose it" thing. I've gradually started saying less and less in recent years, keeping quiet more, letting those around me do the talking (my thoughts jabber on without coming out mostly), I no longer have to stand up in front of audiences to speak, I work and drive in silence, and I'm simply not used to exercising my vocal chords as I may have in the past. I don't know if it's all in my head, psycho-somatic or has become a physical issue - perhaps it's a mixture of these.
Can I cure it? Maybe. But contrary to popular belief, women don't just naturally chatter away. I may have to start talking at length to myself out loud (that's going to go down well with those who already think I'm nuts! :-) ), build up vocal strength, and see if that helps.
Meantime you'll find me quietly going about my business. Saying what I can when I can, and then shutting up.