Andraya H

My childhood-self believed every person was born with a predetermined amount of words they could speak in their lifetime. No one could know how many words they were allotted and the amount differed for each individual. But, no matter who you are, once you spoke your given amount of words, your life ended.

I just knew, human existence weighs solely on communication with each other. To me it seemed like this was fact & I was born with this knowledge. I believed in a word allowance so strongly, I rarely spoke before Kindergarten. My family says I just stared when asked questions. I remember contemplating: How can my answer use words sparingly & still express my gratitude towards the person using their words just to address my presence? How could I possibly give a meaningful enough answer to propitiate a person risking, what could very well be, their last words to ask me ‘how are you today?’

Finally, during Kindergarten, my teacher convinced me that my philosophical approach to communication was likely not factual. I heard, I went from barely uttering a word to rapidly speaking full sentences, using a vocabulary everyone was unaware I had.

This all-but-lost memory came back to me while earning my bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences and brought with it a sort of peace. I realized that like art, language has also always been extremely important to me, validating that I have been pondering over the puzzles of communication since I was born.

Since I believed human existence depended solely on this word allowance, I used words sparingly and instead poured my thoughts and emotions into creating art. Now the art I create fuels my dedication to bringing awareness to communication disorders & the benefits art therapy can provide in treating them.