I am not sure at what age I spoke my first word, but I do know that I have been talking in my jacked up north meets south accent ever since that momentous day. I was born with the gift of gab, and I use that gift on a daily basis, at home, at work, and everywhere in between. My references include report cards replete with the comment, She talks too much, admonishments from my parents to Be quiet, and the glazed over looks of family and friends alike when they long for silence to replace the sound of my voice. I am many things, but I most definitely am a talker.

I use my words in a variety of ways. To teach and educate. To make someone laugh or smile. To stand up for myself and for those who have no voice. To counse and advise. To pray. To express my emotions and thoughts. To forge a connection with another person. To love. And so on.

Words are so very powerful indeed, but I am learning that something else is as powerful or, perhaps,even more powerful than words, spoken or written. The sound of silence.

Despite being an avowed talker, I do cherish moments of silence, and I seek out those moments during my days filled with chatter and activities. Sometimes, even I need to rest my voice and my ears. When I choose silence, I embrace it. Then, there are those times when I do not choose it that it becomes deafening. This is one of those times.

I am in the throes of learning a lesson about both being silent and respecting another person’s need for silence. It is a lesson that is long overdue, as it has been a difficult one for me to master.

I tend to find comfort in words, both in what I say to others and what others say to me, especially during difficult times. When I am hurt, I process my feelings through my writing and/or talking to someone I trust. In return, when someone I care about is struggling, I use my words to provide them with whatever support and sound advice I can. To me, it is counterintuitive to fall silent when life becomes overwhelming, but for others, it is instinctive and needed.

In the past, silence has been used as a weapon of sorts to hurt or deceive me, so, when someone I love falls silent, my anxiety and insecurities come roaring back to fill the void that the silence has created with their own destructive chatter. Rationally, I understand and respect that sometimes there are no words that need to be spoken or heard, as silence can be healing. Irrationally, I personalize the absence of words and feel a bit adrift, wondering when, and if, the silence will be broken.

It feels as if we both have been muted. There are unspoken words, but no voice to make them heard, at least not yet. I may never fully embrace silence, and in this moment, I am learning to accept it, rather than resist it. Maybe, the silence will teach us both a thing or two.

That’s another story. . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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