Open your mouth
only if what
you are going to say
is more beautiful
“There is a voice inside that doesn’t use words.
I say goodbye to my friends at around 10.20pm and put my phone out of sight. I can hear it’s still buzzing so I turn off my data. When I wake up I am instantly aware of the vow (I thought I would forget at first, wouldn’t you expect that?). Candy Crush with my morning coffee and ciggy on the veranda is traditional and I don’t want to miss out on my daily bonus, so I turn on my data.
Bad idea! Tons of notifications are coming through – oops! It’s off again. I quickly turn on FB notifications on my browser (shit, didn’t I say I was going to do that last night??) – I start to panic as I realise that this is not going to be a cakewalk. I take a deep breath and get involved in my candy crush – distraction is always handy.
Apparently, songs get stuck in your head that echo what’s on your mind. I can’t sing them away or drown out the sound so they are amplified. My brain picked this playlist for me:
6.30am – KoRn – Insane
8.30am – Sum41 – In Too Deep
10.30am – Lost Prophets – Rooftops (scream your heart out, lol)
2.30pm – KoRn – Bottled Up Inside (d-uh!)
7.30pm – Tom Petty – Free Fallin’
10pm – Alex Peace – From Inside The Speaker (hehehehe)
My black eye hurts and I can’t say “Ow” and it really bugs me. There’s nobody here to hear me and surely saying “Ow” won’t ease my pain… and yet being deprived of the right to moan is magnifying my pain somehow. I’m getting this uneasy feeling and flashbacks of that abusive relationship I stayed in for too long… and the bruises that I used to hide, or make up stories about to cover up the truth of their origin, if I ever was questioned. I feel waves of empathy for silent victims everywhere. A lot of people take a Vow of Silence in solidarity with those who cannot speak for themselves, like animals and abused women and children and while I think about this I want to weep for all of them. Gosh, I’ve barely even started yet.
(I’m no martyr by the way, a door fell on me – the pain is merely adding poignancy to this experience.)
Not everything is about me.
So much has already happened this morning that I am dying to tell people and I can’t. Meh.
11.11. I just got an email from a client I haven’t heard from for 6 weeks. Why today? Hah! I think the Universe wants me to really put a lot of thought into my response. I must admit, their email has me rather puzzled. I will respond tomorrow.
11.48 – My new stretchers and plugs have arrived! I have been waiting for about 6 weeks for them, so I am super excited. Again, it’s like this was meant to happen today of all days, because it brought on a major epiphany for me.
In my excitement, I forgot all about the vow – when I got to the postbox and saw my package beneath the rolled up newspaper I yelled “Yay!” in utter glee. Once I had recovered from the excitement and realised what I’d done, a whole new idea opened up.
Isn’t it interesting how I was able to exercise restraint with my pain, but I could not contain my joy? Everyone knows how much I love to giggle (well, it’s more of a cackle, really) and I definitely agree that I am a silly person, but I have been identifying for quite some time now as an overall rather melancholic bird. I presume this is how everyone sees me, although I’ve had one or two people say they wish I’d just be my jolly self (why do I always believe the haters instead, hmm?). And yet, perhaps the tendency towards misery is a choice, seeing as I was able to choose not to say “Ow” today.
When this joy arrived, it wasn’t a choice at all, my reaction was pure instinct. Could these non-haters have been right all along, that I am actually a joyful person who gets sad too often, and not a miserable wench who giggles a lot? What an interesting concept;
- My depression isn’t me!
- I actually do have control over negative emotions, ergo, they do not need to control me.
Sjoe, it’s almost noon which means I’m at the halfway point. So far so good!
I had planned on painting today but I ended up writing a song instead. I haven’t done that in years!
3.30 – it’s getting old. My ego has been exposed as a fraud; she’s mad and she’s sulking. I start arguing with myself, or bargaining rather. Have I proven my point, have I had my ‘aha’ moment? I have, but that isn’t the point, I have set a a goal, a VOW, and I need to stick to it. The mundanity starts to really test my resolve.
I’m meditating but I’m more distracted than ever. I want loud music. I want to sing. I want to Whatsapp my friends. I want to check my Facebook. I want to talk to people I haven’t even thought of in ages.
Eventually, after a few hours of this, I decide to stop fighting it and I take a nap. This only lasts about 20 mins, as my sense of hearing has become so heightened that I can hear every sound in the entire world – sounds I have never even noticed before.
I decide to stop fighting it and then I reach an intense sense of calm. I pretty much just sat for a few hours. There are no more epiphanies, but the loneliness and slight panic I have been feeling most of the day is gone. I want to stay in this warm and fuzzy space forever. I feel like I have only just begun to enjoy it and it’s over basically over – another lesson in attachment.
When the time was up, it took me almost another hour to speak again, I didn’t want to come out of my bubble!
So, last week I made the decision to take a vow of silence, for 24 hours.
At the time, the date I had chosen – that’s tomorrow, if you’re curious – seemed ages away and I have been pretty good at putting it out of my mind until now, but as the momentous hour approaches, I have to admit I am more than a little bit nervous!
Why, you may ask, would I put myself through what some consider to be unimaginable torture? Well, that’s kinda the point – because the thought of it terrifies me. I have always taken sick pleasure out of daring myself to do things that terrify me, because believe that when I don’t face my demons head on, they haunt me in other ways.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a limit. I will never forget how bad my anxiety got at one point a few years back, when I was so afraid of the world I didn’t leave my house for a month. When I finally got the courage to leave the property and walk a few blocks (to be fair, it was necessity that had brought it on; I ran out of weed and my boyfriend at the time wouldn’t be home from work to bring me some for many hours yet) I swore to never again let fear control me the same way.
While fear still plays a small role in my life today, it isn’t in the driving seat anymore. It’s that GPS voice who can’t pronounce Umgeni Road properly and keeps trying to throw her 2c in while I chart my own course, but that’s OK. When fear chimes in, it serves to remind me that I still have limits to break free from.
That being said, silence is a limit I haven’t tested yet, and I am curious to see what my limit even is. Anyone who knows me well knows how I love to talk, especially to interrupt, so this will be especially challenging. As a writer, I have a true love for communication and getting my point across, but as a listener… well I love to help, so I tend to dish out advice like hotcakes, forgetting that most of the time people really just want to feel heard. I also usually spend all day long blasting very loud heavy metal music, something the neighbours actually enjoy, fortunately (for them), while singing at the top of my lungs. All day, every day. So silence is going to be a HUGE shock to the system for me.
What’s the point, though; what do I hope to achieve from all of this? Enlightenment would be great but who knows how much wisdom I can learn in 24 hours? We will have to wait and find out. For me, I would be so impressed with myself just for pulling it of, that in itself will motivate me in the future to believe that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. Last year, I set a goal of climbing a mountain, and I did it – I climbed Table Mountain! This year, my vow of silence is my mountain.
Also, an opportunity has come up for me to take refuge in the coming months, so I am doing some intense meditation sessions and soul-searching in preparation for that. So with hours to go until my silent period kicks in, I’m getting this all out while I still can.
See you on the other side!