I’m a little bit deaf (or something) plus I tend to get really excited about whatever I’m talking about, so I have a bad habit of practically yelling when I mean to just have a friendly conversation. It’s not so much that I’m shouting– I don’t really get that angry aggressive edge that makes really shouting— but it’s decidedly quite loud, usually much louder than I intend. It happens whenever I get too passionate about something to think about anything else; mostly, people stop me when we’ve been in a noisy room but now we’ve stepped outside, or we were in a moving car but now it’s stopped, and I haven’t adjusted my voice to stop shouting over background noise that is no longer there. But it also happens sometimes when I get just plain excited.
But there’s really no way for people to tell me I’m being too loud without making me feel like I never want to talk again.
Part of the problem is that they (by definition) have to interrupt me to tell me how loud I’m being, and while in theory I could take a “too loud!” as a good-hearted attempt to inform me of information I do truly want, when they have to completely silence me first, it makes it a lot harder to convince myself that the comment doesn’t mean “silence yourself,” as opposed to, “hey, did you know you were being loud?”
The other part of the problem is that people only really have a problem with my volume when I’m talking about my period, or sex toys, or anything else that we’re supposed to talk about quietly and with euphemisms. My voice isn’t actually any louder than it is when I’m talking about Indiana Jones, but it bothers them a lot more. And the “taboo” nature of the subject matter only reinforces the feeling that their real meaning is “silence yourself.”
I my family members and a few close friends formed the habit of putting a hand on my shoulder or something every time my voice got louder (or, as is more often the case, the room suddenly gets quieter) I could probably learn to speak more softly to spare my friends’ eardrums. But when they go, “Eloriane, Eloriane! Quiet!” and when they show a clear preference for doing it when I’m being “embarassing,” well, I hear that as, “silence yourself, woman!” and I’m sure as hell not going along with that.
I have a loud voice. And sometimes I’m a little embarassed when, as mentioned before, the room goes quiet and my voice is the only one ringing out. But it’s more important to me that when I’m talking about something I care about– Xena the lesbian icon, or how much I love my birth control– I talk about it like I really care about it. To keep my voice soft at all times, for the comfort of others, is to deny my own passions, and I can put up with the occassional truly embarassing moment to keep my passion.
It’s what makes me who I am, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. So I won’t be.