In a remarkable documentary from 1954, the amazing Helen Keller, who learned to read and communicate despite being both deaf and blind, verbally shared her regrets about not being able to speak clearly. Keller had learned to speak by reading lips by touch, but had not, in her own estimation, done enough to “speak normally”. Polly Thomson, Keller’s friend of 40 years and primary confidante was by her side to interpret and translate.
It is not blindness or deafness that bring me my darkest hours. It is the acute disappointment in not being able to speak normally. Longingly I feel how much more good I may have done, if I had only acquired normal speech. But out of this sorrowful experience I understand more clearly all human striving, thwarted ambitions, and infinite capacity of hope.