“Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”
~Brave by Sara Bareilles
I wish. Oh, how I wish.
(Insert something here about if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Where’s my damn horse?!)
For someone who talks more than she should, I leave much unsaid. It’s as much a self-preservation tactic as it is one of avoidance. My conflict aversion is so strong that I would rather let something fester for days, months, years than open my mouth.
The inevitable explosions are spectacular, emotions and relationships laid to waste, collateral damage unavoidable and guaranteed.
Those who know and love me best (yes, I’m quantifying love here), know that radio silence from me means something and it’s usually not that I’m ridiculously busy. My silence means that I’m chewing on something, ruminating, turning things over endlessly in my mind. I have entire 2-sided conversations, trying to predict how a conversation will play out, trying to build enough courage to be authentic. I’m not saying that my silence is inauthentic, just that I’m not being authentic in the relationship.
Speaking up requires a level of bravery I have trouble summoning. But don’t assume that means I’m weak. Those who endure in silence often have a level of fortitude others dream about. The little girl being sexually abused isn’t weak, she’s terrified. The physically abused mother isn’t weak, she doesn’t know where to go for help. The teen-aged boy being bullied isn’t weak, he hasn’t been heard when he tried to speak up, so he stopped trying.
Sometimes our silence is so loud we can’t understand why no one hears it.
The flip side is that sometimes silence is just that, silence. The trick is learning/knowing the difference. Some of us are sensitive enough (and I don’t mean cry at the drop of hat sensitive) to feel the difference and respond in kind. I easily pick up on the energy of the people around me and I don’t even have to know them. It’s one of the reasons I find large gatherings of people to be overwhelming. Some people have louder energy than others as well, which I know sounds odd, but there’s really no other way I can explain it. Perhaps I just receive energy from certain people louder, my mother and grandmother being two such people, though it’s not restricted to blood relatives.
The point that I am attempting to make is that sometimes silence is golden. Other times, it’s not. What’s not being said is often a far better barometer for our connections to those around us than what is said.
The question is: can you hear it?