I woke today with razor blades in my throat. I have to lift my eyebrows to swallow. I cannot make a single sound beside a rather strangled, tearing noise when I cough. In short, I’m in a terrible state. I have spent the day feeling by turns, helpless, rude, incapacitated, frustrated, isolated, marginalised, misunderstood, weepy and pathetically grateful. I’m tired and aching and I want to go home; who I am in a very fundamental way has been masked. Colleagues and students have said it’s not the same with me silenced – whether that’s good or bad, isn’t the point: it’s different. But I have spent a large part of today truly appreciating what it must be like for our students – especially those with limited control over the language. It must be like having no voice. Especially too for those who are far from home. I have become aware once again how tremendously courageous it is to leave everything familiar behind and arrive in a place where it must feel like your voice has been taken away – like a most fundamental part of you no longer works. And for that I admire them most profoundly.
I have lost my voice.