On a scale of one to ten everyone hopes to be speaking around the volume level of a five. Maybe a seven when drinking with friends, and animatedly telling a story. Lately, I find myself at a zero or ten with no in between.
My volume may as well be zero when it comes to my kids. No one really expects a toddler to listen, so I shrug off my two-year-old’s general disregard – for now. Yet, I am truly annoyed by my six-year-old paying no attention to what I say. As parents, we try to maintain that “people are more important than things.” That currently translates to putting aside whatever technology or toy has you distracted to be able to focus on a conversation with someone. I get most frustrated when I ask direct questions about their needs, and still don’t get a response after three polite (and loud) asks.
I am cut more deeply when my words fall deaf on my husband’s ears. At the very least I expect an answer to my, “Honey, how was your day?” inquiry. Again, my volume must be default to zero because more often than not I do not get a response. That moment is the one when I begin to wonder if I am merely boring. Do I have anything worthwhile to say?
When this behavior starts to feel like the norm, you notice other people stare blankly when you’re talking. I feel the air coming out of my lungs and my lips moving, but I may as well be a ghost. I simply feel deflated. It just hurts.
Who turned my volume down to zero?
That’s when I crank my own volume up to ten. No, it does not come out happy. It is a loud, blood curdling war cry that I can only imagine coming from a Aztec warrior during battle. It scares my kids and unhinges my family. Obviously that’s not my goal.
I am learning to control my own volume button by asserting that at least some of what I have to say has value, while finding more patience to accept that this world is all too distracting these days. Maybe one day I will be a five. Although let’s be honest, I am louder than most people, so I will just be happy with a seven.
Until then, I want to thank you, dearest readers. You give my voice a soft place to land. You remind me that everyone’s thoughts and feelings have value. Mamas included.