I’ve been mute in New York City. Only for two days though. I was visiting in order to run a marathon and fortunately I was with a friend who was able to communicate, but I still felt strange, different. It was something I could do nothing about you see, for I had lost my voice due to a throat illness. I could not talk, I could not eat, and I was barely able to drink fluids. In a very short time I went from being an ex-pat massage/surf guy living in a Costa Rican rain forest, to a speechless Brooklyn bound tourist. How surreal. Without the help of my friend I would have been in a serious predicament. Almost overnight I had become something I had always feared. A man unable to be himself.
Life’s lessons are served up to us when THEY are ready, not always when WE are ready. While pointing to my throat during check-in at the airport, during jostling at the crowded urinal lines during the race, as well as on the subway and streets, I began to cope with my issue. Most of my encounters were met with pleasantries. My lowered eyes, slouching shoulders, and sad half-smile said everything I needed to say. My engagements were comforting and pleasant. I don’t know why I was thinking things would be different. It was my own self-consciousness and a newly realized state of mind that I had become unsure of. Now I was seeing that my preconceptions were of my own doing. I had nothing to be afraid of and if I was, it was my fault.
If I could have just been more myself as the mute I had become surely some people may have helped me even more. I didn’t need to feel bad about not talking. I just needed to be who I was. Everything would have been easier. The symptoms of my illness and the situation it put me in made me not accept myself. Something I had always done, literally, for 43 years. I have always had the attitude like the character Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” In a very small way I re-learned a lesson that I thought I had down. No matter who you are, or why you are the way you are, continue to trust in it, and empower yourself. None of us should feel mute, ever. I am so thankful for my speechless time in New York City, I heard volumes those days and life is sweeter because of it.
(Todd is a pioneer of the Massage Industry here in Manuel Antonio since 2000. He can be reached at 8830-7727 for appointments at his home studio or at your location.)