My Life as a Loud Speaker

I’m not sure when, exactly, I became a loud speaker, but I do know that from at least post high school on, I’ve always seemed to talk louder than average. I didn’t really become aware of it as a steady sort of thing until I married Denisa, who is not as loud of a speaker.

The thing is, I just always speak “normally,” and I didn’t even think that my normal speaking voice would be anything to take into consideration. Of course, when you start speaking around a sleeping baby, you quickly are reminded of the fact that maybe you might be talking a few decibels louder than your wife. Especially if your wife worked really hard at getting that baby to sleep in the first place . . .

Of course, the question becomes why I speak so loudly. Some of it is possibly because I was in drama as a kid, so I learned how to project. But I think a lot of it is that I just tend to increase the volume whenever I get into a discussion that I care about. It’s not that I’m getting angry (at least, not that I realize), but the more passionate I am about something, the more likely it is that I’ll be more . . . “easily heard,” shall we say? Yesterday Denisa and I were talking about the pronunciation of Kamala Harris and comparing it to the pronunciation I’d used on my blog (“Comma-la”). You get two linguistic majors going on a debate about vowel sounds, and apparently you better be ready for some real back and forth. (Long story short, I realized there’s a dialectic difference in the way Denisa and I pronounce those two words. One that I can’t hear but she can. Go figure.)

Maybe I have a tendency to want to be right when I’m having a debate, and maybe my natural inclination is to speak louder when I think my rightness might be threatened . . .

But it’s not just speaking louder in person. When I’m on the phone, I’m a notorious loud talker, even when I try to lower my voice. (I’m also a pacer on the phone. I will wander all over the house, talking and talking in my phone voice, and disturbing all sorts of family members in the process. Aren’t I considerate?)

This isn’t to say that I’m right and everyone who thinks I speak too loudly is wrong. It’s to observe that sometimes we do things without meaning to that end up affecting others in ways we can’t immediately understand. When those tendencies are brought to our attention, we have a choice. We can ignore other people and do what we’ve always done anyway, or we can try to change.

Honestly, there are probably some areas where I would continue doing what I’ve always done. But how loud I speak? That’s just not that important to me. I’m doing it without even thinking about it in the first place. So I would gladly lower my voice, but I’ve also discovered that willfully trying to change in areas like this is about as easy as deciding not to slouch. It doesn’t come easily.

So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion for today is this: there are things many of us do that affect others. If they’re making life more difficult for others, it’s worth assessing them to see if we could stop doing those things. On the flip side, we should also be understanding that changing some things is difficult for the person who’s making the effort, and so we need to be understanding that it’s a process. (Note: I’m worried this is coming off like Denisa and I had this huge argument about how loud I talk yesterday. That isn’t the case at all. Just another instance of something happening in everyday life sparking a thought in me, and me blogging about that thought, trying to reach a conclusion._

What other areas do you see this happening, whether in yourself or in others?


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