My Grandmother told me when I was six that I talked too much. At that time I felt shamefully reprimanded for telling my father, in great detail and with too much enthusiasm, what I had done that day. Later that night, while my mother was putting me through my bedtime ritual, and she said to me â€œNo one ever talks too much as long as they have a valid point.â€? That in itself was enough to push me to continue â€œtalking too much.â€?
The first time someone told me to â€œshut up,â€? and my answer was â€œNo, I don’t have to.â€? I forget who said it to me, or where I was, but I remember thinking, â€œI live in the United States, and I’ve been told I can say anything anytime I like.â€? So why should I listen to others when they tell me to close my mouth? Everyone, at one time or another, has something to say, and I feel if I listen to them with the courtesy they deserve, then, when it becomes my time to say something, maybe I’ll be listened to as well.
I follow my right of freedom of speech very closely. I know that I can say what I want, when I want, wherever I wish. But I also believe that with this right come boundaries. Once in high school, I had to give a presentation to my entire class about the consequences drugs had had in my life from the front of the room. I didn’t get nervous, but I did fail to conduct myself as I should have. The phrases I used weren’t appropriate, and it ended up costing me my grade. However, when I was asked to give a similar speech in a less strict situation, I was told that a lot of the crowd took what I had to say as â€œadvice.â€?
Even now, my friends tell me I talk enough for everyone. I take that as a compliment, because maybe I’m saying what no one else has the guts to say. Maybe I’m making a point that should have been made a long time ago. Maybe I’m telling a truth that needed to be told.
Our speech is a tool; it connects each of us in a specific way. I can ask for food, or even tell another person where to find something. I can communicate love, sadness, anger, disappointment, and many other emotions in a way that is unique to me, with its own traits and accents. It fascinates me when I look at it from all these different perspectives. If I didn’t have speech, where would I be?
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