Don’t be offended by my silence. If I’m staring off, don’t worry that I’m upset. Sometimes I just need to retreat into the comfort of my own mind. Daydreaming is a mental retreat from endless chatter. Is my silence is unnerving? People seem to want to fill it. There’s a point in each day when I need the silence of my mind.
My silence means I’m listening. My mind receives the words and turns a thought over and over, examining it at every angle. If you’re revealing a problem, I might have some insight, but it’s likely my response won’t be immediate. If you’ve spoken some words of kindness or stated something meaningful, I may not seem to receive it, when the precious words are actually being stored away.
My silence shouts the inadequacy of language. Caught up in the moment, my mind searches but the right words won’t surface. The complexity of thought and emotion are too much for human speech. Sometimes words aren’t what people need, and they’re not always what I have to offer.
My silence is filled with words, but my thoughts are more fluid in text and pen. I see them take shape in letters, words and phrases, see them decorated with punctuation. Confidence forms in the power to omit and shape the writing to reflect emotions. The written word is connective. To be able to read it again and again. To see the shape of writing and catch all of the nuances. To wonder at one word chosen over another.
Words are just a combination of sounds to form meaning. These combinations of letters, spaces and marks are used to express the workings of our brains. But these combinations can also become limiting. “Love” can be used to describe feelings towards a romantic partner, a friend, or Butterfinger bites. It’s not enough to say I simply enjoy them; I love Butterfinger bites. “Like” becomes a baseline verb which can mean you remotely connect with a post online, or it could be said with a shrug. I like “Dancing Queen” and “Fernando,” but overall (shrug) I’m not a huge fan of Abba. “Friend” can be used for a casual acquaintance online–allowed to creep on your vacation photos–or it could refer to someone you trust to see your bathroom after an unplanned visit.
There is no true silence for me. I am consumed with words. In print, my eyes will search them again and again to sort through every possible meaning. Spoken words are recited in my head as if on a reel, savoring the best and putting them on repeat like a favorite song. They can perplex and frustrate me, yet they’ve also carried me through such heaviness. Even now, I sense my words have remained shallow. Ideas tumble around in my brain but stumble when my pen wants to glide across the page or my fingers want to punch at keys on the computer. I am forever confronting the silence.