“I’m not yelling at you--this is the way I talk!”
I think this is something that Samuel L. Jackson has explained to people on more than one occasion. This is also the same conversation I had with my husband, also on more than one occasion. I used to think that I couldn’t help it because I was Italian-American. Obviously, being Italian- American means big hand gestures accompanied by a booming voice that can be heard all the way across the nation... that’s just how I talked.
Growing up with an equally [if not louder] mother who spoke with her hands, it is no surprise that I came out of the womb yelling at the world. This came in super handy when I was in theater, not so handy when I was trying to have a relationship with someone I cared for very deeply. It’s so weird how people take offense to things when you say them all loud, isn’t it?
While I love my heritage of being a 4th generation Italian-American, unfortunately, I cannot stoop to using it as an excuse in this particular instance. Talking loud, as it turned out, can be adjusted. Who knew?! You can actually control the volume of your voice if you put a small amount of effort into it!
And there’s good reason for me to try because here’s another thing: my height. What does my height have to do with me yelling? Everything. If I was a big, Amazon woman, perhaps my ranting and yelling--er, I mean, talking loudly--would be intimidating or awe-inspiring.
As genetics would have it, I am not an Amazon woman, not even a little bit. I am not even five feet tall; so the loud talking makes me seem a little bit like an angry dwarf. Like Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones without all the power. Imagine a short woman talking loudly and passionately, flailing her hands in the air for dramatic effect. Yep, that’s a scary little pint sized picture, isn’t it?
When I find I am ramping up and getting myself into loud-talking mode, I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and start over. [I’m working on my zen!] The truth is, being calm is an asset, and speaking calmly actually commands just as much attention as talking loudly, and as I learned it perhaps can command more attention than talking loudly. So while I will still have a few Samuel L. Jackson moments in my future (hey, no one is perfect) you have to know when to say when, and when to boss yourself into better decision making.
The most ironic moment in all of this is while I do have quite the big, loud mouth, once I shut it long enough to listen in a little better, I noticed how darn loud my husband talks. But that is another blog entirely.
The point is, there are lots of loud talkers out there, and they aren’t exclusively Italian-Americans. What do we have in common? We suffer from a totally fixable problem and all it takes is a little bit of self awareness and control. So if you find you are shouting unprovoked, take a deep breath, lower the pitch and carry on. Your friends and family will love you for it!