I am angry with myself.
That's the new thing that I learned today.
While we were sitting at lunch Elisabeth suddenly couldn't take it any more: she took a breath and asked me for the second time this semester why I don't talk very much. I looked at her carefully. She was smiling, and had real concern behind her eyes. I took a deep breath.
"Do you feel like your French is getting any better?" was the first question. Uh...no, actually, I don't. I feel like a got a little bit better when I first got here, but then things just kinda went stagnant. Classes were/are dull, and I didn't feel any challenge to improve. So I sat where I was.
"It seems that you speak in onomatopeias. It's almost like you refuse to speak."
The moment she said this my brain went kaput just a little. I thought about it for the half a moment she gave me to think about it. It's true. I start a sentence and finish it with a sound. The sound means something, of course, but I should be using words instead.
"It's too bad because you're here to improve your French. We're here for you to talk to, for you to practice with. I understand if it's just you and you don't like talking, maybe you talk to your friends, i don't know. But as for me, I like having someone to talk to. It's important to get things out there. All the other girls used to just talk and talk...but you, you're silent."
I am silent. I set the bar at perfection, miss the bar, and then wallow in it. I feel so incredibly annoyed and angry with myself for doing that time and time again. I only have another month here, of course I've only in a very recent amount of time gotten myself completely at ease in what I do here. I gave up trying to understand why some profs were amazing and other profs suck. I stopped wishing that I actually had classes with friends (although technically that's not true--really I just stopped trying to figure out ways to change it. Most of the ways included subterfuge and yellow water balloons...useless in the face of the Tsking Demon Lady ).
During the course of the conversation today I was presented with an outside view of what I do to myself. Internalisation!! Woot! Who needs to tell other people about things if I can just write them in a hidden journal and pretend to stop thinking about them? The reason I didn't really try to fix the problem is that I thought everyone was used to being one way, and I hate to mess them up. Dumb, I know. Isn't the entire idea to change and grow and all? Yes. Yes it is.
Even talking with them, and trying to explain why I feel like I'm trapped in a miniature box of French vocabulary and hate making mistakes even though I know that you have to be mistaken in something before being able to fix it and move on to the next mistake, was incredibly difficult. I'm not used to adults I kinda-almost-generally know calling me out on things like this. No, I take that back. I'm not accustomed to (really) anybody doing this. I'm perfect, remember?
I don't understand why I act against things that I know. I know that it's stupid to be afraid of my mistakes. I know that it's idiotic to not speak a language I'm trying to learn. I know it's moronic to keep something I'm thinking about inside just because I don't think the sentence I want to use to express the feeling is grammatically correct.
Then why in the world do I just sit here in France fighting with myself?
It's a war with my own intellect!
I speak well. I speak just as well as everybody else, I'm not dumb, I understand everything that goes on around me (although one could argue that that's because Pierre and Lola haven't been around doing their speed talking for a while). So this is stupid. Why, when I want to ask if they think it's a good idea to rent a car and drive to the coast, I stop myself before anything gets out, and then get butterflies in my stomach while I stand there and fight with myself? I seriously have stalled for time and waited ten minutes for the perfect moment to pose the question "Can I use the printer?"
You think I'm exagerating? I am so not. Ugh. So dumb. Fear is so dumb.
It should have no hold over me, but it does. It really does. This is even after I told myself, so many times, that I didn't care. I was going to go for it and not care...I think I must have forgotten.
Also, I'm tired of only having a "virtual connection" to my friends and family at home. Seriously people, this is annoying. I finally did a conversation of half voice and half typing with Mackenzie the other day (she talked into her mic and I typed my answers as fast as I could into the little Skype box) and nearly started crying when I first heard her say "Hi!". I miss people's voices. I guess it's time to find a phone card. I was trying to save money, but I don't know if I can do this much longer...what, do I feel like I have to punish myself or something? haha
So yeah...I think we're going to rent a car for the next long weekend. I have five days off, and Collin did a little bit of research and says that it's cheap enough and that we should just do it. We'll be able to just drive to the coast and it'll be super easy. Coolness.