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Voice.

I have a voice. I'm capable of using it to form words to form sentences to support a conversation.

Unlike everyone else though, I choose not to use it.

Unlike everyone else, I have not yelled, screamed, or even talked at a normal volume before.

Also, unlike everyone else, I have a photographic memory.

Combine the two and you get for a very interesting child, advanced in not only academics but also politics and in numerous amount of areas, only limited by her selective mutism.

Or so most people think.

I don't believe that my mutism limits me.

Oh no, no, no, rather, it allows me to see what others fail to.

I chose to be a mute.

People don't understand that, but they don't question it.

Which is good, since I wouldn't respond anyways.

"Connie, sweetie, are you ready to go yet?" my mother called from the stairs. She's always rushing me in the mornings, I really don't like that. I rang a bell that signaled her that no, I was not ready yet.

"Five minutes, Connie. I'll be in the car." Shortly after that, I heard the front door open and close.

Five minutes. Okay.

I straightened my floral blouse as I walked towards my bathroom.

I studied my face in the mirror, making sure I looked perfect.

Not a single brown hair was out of place; all my curls looked very precise. My hazel eyes did not look tired, and my pink lips were not chapped. My makeup was not heavy at all; in fact, it might have been a little light.

My teeth were a nice shade of white and very straight.

Okay. Good.

I turned the lights off and grabbed my beige book bag off of the floor and headed towards the door.

After punching in the code for the security system, I locked the door and walked over to my mother's car. The drive to my school was silent.

As always.

"Have a nice day sweetie!" My mother called as we reached my school. I smiled at her to let her know that I understood and wanted to return the gesture.

I looked into my mother's bright blue eyes and thought again, for maybe the millionth time, how much I wanted her eye color. I inherited her curly, dark brown hair, her pale skin, her small nose, her full lips, and even her excellent bone structure. Just not her eyes.

No, I got my father's boring hazel eyes.

I sighed and turned to start walking to my first class.

People tend to assume because I don't like to talk that high school must be a nightmare for me.

It's not.

See, most teenagers don't think for themselves. They'll swear that they do, but really, they don't.

It's very easy to manipulate them.

For example, with me, it was simple enough. I look the part of a normal 16 year-old girl. They see me, they think:

a) I want to be her friend.

b) She's probably stuck-up.

Or c) other.

Usually it's a.

The role I play is a fun loving girl with lots of spirit. I smile a lot and laugh.

They think I have a sense of humor, which I do; it just isn't compatible with theirs.

Up to this point, they've known me for about 5 minutes.

They decide I'm cool.

The tricky part:

They try to have a conversation with me.

It goes like this:

"Hi, you're Connie, right?"

I nod and smile, maybe making a small laughing sound.

"I'm *insert name here.* *Insert inane chatter here.*"

Basically, all I have to do afterwards is nod, laugh, and smile. Nothing to it.

When they do figure out I'm a mute, they feel sympathetic and possessive because at this point they decide that I'm a nice person and "worthy" of their friendship.

And so, I have a small army of high school students who at least pretend to care and try to interact with me.

What a joyous thought.

They invite to movies, they invite me to dinner. I've even been invited to a sleepover before. (It turned out to be very boring.)

My facade has not been detected by anyone before. Not by my peers, not by my teachers. Not even by my mother.

Well, I guess I lied. My cousin Dianne seems to know. But she's only 8.

Dianne knows me. She's understands my choice and she can actually communicate with me. It's absolutely wonderful. She's my best friend, and honestly, my only true friend. Pretty sad coming from a sixteen year-old but hey, whatever.

"Connie! Hey." I heard a voice call from behind me. I turned to see Jason Park, a gorgeous junior that had about as much sense as a blade of grass. Nevertheless, I flashed him a smile to let him know that I was listening and I gave him a small wave.

"Listen, I was thinking... You know, the spring formal is coming up and I thought it would be a good idea if you and I go together. Like a date." He gave me one of his famous half smiles that usually make girls swoon, as his green eyes bored into my plain ones.

No, is what I wanted to say. Flat out no.

Being the master of facial expressions, I shot him a sympathetic look and bit my lip. He sensed my answer.

"Oh. Well, are you going to the dance-" I shook my head. He was about to ask me if I was going with someone else, I just knew it. To end the conversation as soon as possible, I just interrupted him. This might have been rude coming from anyone else but since I'm a mute, it's alright.

He just shrugged and walked away.

God, how I dislike high school boys. They think that because I don't talk that a relationship with me means either a very physical one or a challenge, meaning that they spend it trying to get me to talk.

Talk about annoying.

I don't really care though. They're all idiots either way. Airheads like Jenny Dolon or Paige Rocker can have them.

Oh, Jenny and Paige are my... er, friends. They're the queen bees around my school. Well, it's more like Jenny is queen bee while Paige is second in command. I guess that makes me third in command.

Not that I care.

"Miss Confidence, get to class please. I don't appreciate your lollygagging!" A teacher nearby called to me, bringing me out of my thoughts. I ducked my head as though I was embarrassed and practically ran to my locker. As I put my backpack away and grabbed all the necessary books for my next class, I couldn't help but chuckle. I mean, talk about irony at its best. A mute named Confidence.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

XXXBREEThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm:
I understand this article, It's very good. I also have selective mutism, And i relate to some of the things you write about.
 
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paixaam said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm:
This is a great piece. But I just wanted to let you know that I have selective mutism and it is definately NOT a choice to not speak. It's an inability to in certain situations. It's like a blind man who can only see his wife, or a def child who can only hear her mother's voice...people with selective mutism don't choose who they can and cannot speak to. But good luck with everything and thanks for taking time to read this!
 
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