Sometimes you just have to scream
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
― A.A. Milne
My parents tell me I didn’t talk at all until I was nearly three years old. Then my first word was a whole sentence.
Mom and Dad were having a serious conversation at the dinner table. I must have been listening intently when I suddenly blurted out, “But Dad, I just don’t understand.” They both stopped talking and looked at me.
“What was that, Shannon?” my Dad asked.
“But Dad, I just don’t understand.” I repeated.
“Understand what?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders and continued eating my dinner.
As long as I can remember I have been a shy, quiet, introverted and deeply sensitive person. I didn’t feel like I belonged or fit in at all. I assumed things were easier for everyone else. Deep thought and imagination were my best friends. I was humiliated if I didn’t know something. I believed I should already have all the answers, that I should already be perfect at everything. I remember my parents trying to get me to say the word elephant. I refused to say it in front of them. Instead I went into my bedroom and practiced it by myself until I had it just right.
We lived on a little hill in Cumberland B.C. at that time. From the porch looking out the back of the house was a small valley. I remember it was green and bushy with a few trees. Tiny old houses poked out of the green here and there.
“I’m sorry to enquire, but I have to know what are you doing to that child?” a neighbour lady asked Mom.
“What do you mean?” Mom asked, surprised by the forward question.
“Everyday I hear your little girl screaming at the top of her lungs. I am very concerned that she is being mistreated,” the lady stated.
“I can assure you she isn’t being mistreated. She is doing it all by herself.” Mom laughed a bit relieved she knew what the lady was talking about.
Our neighbour stood for a moment not sure if she should press for more information or leave the subject alone. It took great courage after all to come up here and confront Mom.
“Look, why don’t you come in for a cup of tea?” Mom invited as she glanced down at her watch. “You’ll see what I mean in a few minutes.”
“I guess I can come in for a bit,” the lady said, a bit unsure of what she was in for.
While the two women sat at the kitchen table having tea and exchanging pleasantries, as if prompted by an unseen clock, I came in from playing, walked right past them to the back porch. I opened the door, while holding onto the door handle I leaned forward and screamed as loud as I could. While taking a breath, I listened for a hint of an echo, and screamed again, as long and as hard as I could. After a dozen or so screams of various length and pitch, I scanned the valley taking in the beauty then closed the door to the back porch.
As I walked back into the kitchen, Mom introduced me to our neighbour. “Nice to meet you Shannon,” she said and turned back to Mom, “That was the strangest thing I have ever seen.”
I remember feeling quite content while screaming. It is a wonderful release of energy. Kids know this instinctively. Meanwhile most adults, including me hush our children, never allowing them to vent energy in a safe way. Kids love the sound of their voices, especially when there is a large open space that can carry their voice, and an echo is even better.