It happened again. In the midst of a social fun time, I was snapped back into the reality of the fact that this speaking voice of mine is not my “real” voice. Â I was questioned about my Foreign Accent Syndrome at length by a doctor who simply couldn’t believe it.
I was enjoying a lovely time out at a local establishment to listen to one of the bands my husband plays bass in; The Usual Suspects. I really do enjoy going to hear them play, not as much as when we play/sing in the same band together, but still a lot of fun. Music is still one of my all time favorite escapes.
I think that may be why it was such a jolt to the night when the normal “where are you from” became more in depth than usual. It turns out that one of the visitor’s for another band member is a doctor from New York and he flat out couldn’t believe me. So I had to go into verification mode at a time that I would have rather been enjoying the music, singing along and joking around with the other people. Don’t get me wrong; I think that it is neat that a young doctor is skeptical, but the timing of this particular encounter was unfortunate.
Because I know how very rare this disorder is, I feel an added responsibility to communicate the information about Foreign Accent Syndrome. However, because I am not a specialist, a doctor or someone who works in the medical field, my words are often held up to greater scrutiny and skepticism by those who do have such professions.
As a result, at a time when I would be relaxing and just enjoying, I now had to go into “work” mode. It is real work to try to describe something that has happened which is so rare. I’d offer proof, he’d counter with another question, and on it went. After several minutes of this, I told him that he should go ahead and look it up on the internet, but not to be surprised when he doesn’t find much information. I am one of 39 medically documented cases in the world . . . ever.
I was relieved to see that he had an internet capable phone so he could continue his query there. Which he did. Â So I was able to enjoy the last two songs of the first set. Â I was further relieved when my husband joined us at the table and further questions about its authenticity were confirmed for the young doctor. I have nothing against the young man, it simply was a timing issue and the fact that it made me “go there” at a time when I just wanted down time.
It is sad to believe that I can never really escape from this new voice’s impact on my everyday life. It is sadder still that some professional people will question my integrity when faced with something that they don’t know. I think that’s really what bothered me. I am telling the truth here. How can you stand there and call me a liar? Â Yes, it IS interesting? But what can we DO about it? What can we learn? How about being helpful instead of being skeptical?
Although I wrote those thoughts from a carnal viewpoint, I do see something to be learned here. First, I can be sensitive to the fact that there are some people who cannot help but be skeptical about things they have no former experience with. Second, I am more sensitive to their insensitivity. I need to realize that it is not his intention to treat me as if I am a liar, although it feels that way to me. This is more mental “work” for me on top of the corrections to my speech as I communicate using this foreign voice.
So the take-away from this little life experience is this: although I thought he was thinking less of my integrity, he really simply couldn’t believe the fascinating medical manifestations. It was not that he wasn’t believing me. I took it too personally. It was simply “unbelievable”!
I thank God that he has given me the wisdom to keep such upsets inside myself so that I didn’t get snippy or impolite. Also, the humor mode that allowed me to take an uncomfortable topic and make light of it at my own expense allows me to lighten up. That gets me through the moment. Then, later, Â I can really analyze what transpired so I can prepare for the next time such a thing happens.
Live and learn.