Stuttering

Something strange is happening to me: I can’t speak in public any more. I used to be OK at it, was on the school debating team ten years ago, but now I can’t get the words out or express what I mean unless I’m really comfortable with the people I’m with or I have a text written out in full.

Twice in committees over the last week I’ve bumbled through my list of points, faltering, stumbling over the words, badly making my point, and ending up redfaced and sweating whilst the officers and councillors I was addressing nodded politely and pretended to have understood what I was driving at.

In a group meeting earlier in the week, it wasn’t a case of failing to talk in sentences, it was actual, bona fide stuttering. Couldn’t get a word out. Very frustrating. Talking is not difficult in group, because there are not many of us and we know each other well. So I don’t understand why something that came so naturally not so very long ago is now causing me trouble.

Sleeping times have been particularly strange this week: Monday, I forgot to set my radio to come on the night before and then slept through the alarm I did set. What with it being a dark day, and in any case little sun gets to the back of our house where we sleep. I didn’t come to til 3pm, and then, of course, it was a race to get things done in time for a meeting at 7.30pm. Paul has been away much of this week, staying at home with his parents whilst he has hospital appointments to fix his teeth, poor lamb. When he’s here, I try(largely unsuccessfully) to keep normal hours, because otherwise it’s not fair on him. The days he’s not, I’ve still been at my computers at 5am. Watching Alias on one, working on another. I’m fortunate that much of my job can be done in the wee small hours.

As you’d expect, every gay mailing list and group I’m in has mentioned the passage of the Civil Partnership bill; I was reading last night that la reyne le veuylt — it’s now the Civil Partnerships Act 2004. Gay rights is what got me into politics eight years ago, by writing to my MP at Stonewall’s suggestion. A bit later on, I joined the Lib Dems after reading DELGA’s page, then maintained by St MYM, after I felt they agreed with me on gay issues, and reading around a bit, and discovering they agreed with me on issues like Europe and funding higher education. I was a member who didn’t do anything until I saw a poster advertising for volunteers in Nick Clegg‘s office, which I signed up to and helped out, until eventually I was offered a job there. Working exposed me to councillors, who said they were short of candidates, would I let my name go forward? And in 2003, I got elected to Nottingham City Council. It’s a convoluted leap from lobbying my MP on the age of consent to devoting 90% of my waking life to various bodies of the Lib Dems, but hey, it passes the time.

I’m wondering now who amongst the people I know will get CPed first? Is it going to be a year of fabulous parties? Having spent the last few years barely going a month without another wedding, are we set for a really expensive year…?

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