On silence

You may (or may not) have noticed my silence over the last few weeks. I’ve certainly noticed it myself. I’ve felt somewhat guilty for not posting. I mean, a good blogger has stuff written up and ready to post whenever, right? Okay, so I’ve not been doing this for long, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. But I thought this is something I was passionate about? And it is… But I’ve been busy. Or have I just felt busy? Just overwhelmed at the amount of stuff that I have to do, stuff that’s coming up in the near future and the longer-term future. So I’ve needed to think. And maybe I’ve had too many thoughts. Too many negative, exhausting thoughts. And some nicer thoughts sprinkled in occasionally. But yes. I have been silent. And I’ve also been ill. In fact, I still am. I’ve had to take time off work this week and for that I feel guilty too. There’s so many things I could be doing, should be doing. But I can’t, because this illness is exhausting. It’s even tiring just writing out this stream of consciousness, but I felt like I just had to get something out there.

So, to the topic of silence. In real life, I am often quite silent (except at the moment, where I am coughing *constantly*). I feel that I do a lot more listening than talking. I usually only speak when spoken to. I’m not anti-social; but I do sometimes struggle with social anxiety and “just being shy”. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say, and I’m beginning to learn that that’s okay. And, generally, I like to process my thoughts and feelings before I say anything; I’m quite mindful in that sense.

Being quiet was a key feature of my school career. I’d often be described as conscientious, but teachers would want me to speak up or participate more in class. But, for the reasons mentioned above, I stayed silent. And has it held me back? On the whole, I don’t think it has. There are times where I certainly would have benefited from talking more, but in the grand scheme of things… I’ve achieved most of the things I’ve wanted to so far. I’ve gone through school, gained A Levels, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, held multiple jobs, got engaged, got married, moved cities, and most importantly I have an incredible set of family and friends.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Sure, there can be awkward silences, or strained silences, or silences caused by bad situations. So it’s important to check in on people if you feel they are being more silent than usual. But there can also be comfortable silences, thoughtful silences, powerful silences. Don’t be afraid of silence; sometimes it’s necessary.