Losing or Re-adjusting My Vocabulary?

At a recent checkup, I was referred to a neurologist for what we hope/assume are benign migraines. My Doctor asked me a couple of preliminary questions, had I noticed anything other than the spots? I gave the response that I give these days, whenever words fail me, “Well I don’t have as many words in my vocabulary as I used to and I forget things more often, but I put that down to motherhood and exhaustion.”

Despite the glib tone, it’s something I think about quite often. For a long time I was an intellectual snob, I believed that moving to America/Maine had dumbed me down. I wrote a 15,000 word feminist critique of masculine African American narratives in 2003, then went straight from turning that in to being a housewife in Maine. I felt that this must have some consequence. I was being forced into fewer syllables and more accessible turns of phrase.

I was discussing my benign migraines with my husband the other day, he suggested that perhaps it is not the move across the globe that affected my brain cells but the growing time span between who I am now and who I was in college. From 1999-2003 I was in a library every day, I read when I wanted to, when I needed to and when I was instructed to. I absorbed everything I could possibly absorb and then some. That isn’t my daily life anymore. I still read avidly, but it does not consume me. I still take every opportunity I can to learn something new, but those chances do not pop up every day. You are more likely to find me now, having a cup of coffee with a friend chatting about life, than sharing a bottle of wine and discussing the penal system in the soviet union and how it might relate to Jean Toomer’s Cane. Yes that happened.

To everything there is a season, for right now, I believe my season is defined more by words such as potty, please, cheerio and sleep, than it is by hyperbole, post-modernism or the writings of Volosinov. That’s fine by me, life is pretty great. I think the world we live in shapes who we are and how we express ourselves. I am the person I am today because of the college I attended, the man I married, the move I made and the children I have. Do I still miss my vocabulary? Sometimes, but I won’t worry too much about it right now, it’s filed away for future use and for GeekMom posts!

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The GeekMom blog is captained by Jenny Bristol and Corrina Lawson, and supported by a brilliant team of writers. Since launching in 2010, we’ve created a robust community of writers, readers, and media geeks, dedicated to the vision of creating a smart, savvy, social online experience for geek parents everywhere.