So! As you may or may not know, ( You will know if you follow me on twitter) I am currently on a 48 hour sponsored silence, so that means no audio communication! No talking, most importantly. I was afraid that the worst part would be the lonliness, but I can tell you now, it is not.
The worst part I have encountered so far, is the frustration. This is one of the most frustrating things I have done in my entire life. When I say frustration, I mean the experience of not being able to satify a need. To desperately desire or need something, but to be unable to satisfy that wish. I think we all experience frustration to some degree. When we want something to eat, but there is nothing to eat, that is frustrating. When we need someone to talk to, but nobody is around to hear us, that is frustrating. Right now I'm studying a play in English about 5 ladies living together in the middle of nowhere in incredibly impovershed conditions. Sounds pretty frustrating. This is definately one of the most frustrating things I've done in my life so far.
What makes this so frustrating is, it seems to rob you of your ability to express yourself. It's horrible. You still feel all the need to express what you're thinking and feeling, but you can't do it verbally, which is a pretty crucial part of getting an idea across. It's like losing your lungs, but still needing to breathe. If someone says something you disagree with, you are helpless to respond. If someone does something that hurts you, you cannot explain to them what is going on. All I had was a scrappy little notepad to jot down very simple words, and people tire of that very quickly. If I found something funny, I was allowed to laugh, but to some extent, if something hurt me, I was not allowed to cry. Voting campgains usually talk about "Using your voice", and I think this is a very true concept now. You are excercising your abilty to influence the world, and express your opinions on things that matter to you. It was a very painful thing to sit back and be unable to say the words you felt in your head. The whole thing felt very dehumanising. A friend of mine even said that talking to me was like talking to a dog, mostly just talking to yourself.
And the inability to explain yourself when you do something that seems odd or hard to understand kinda leads people to think you're just being stupid.
Now I don't say this out of some sort of invitation to a pity party, but think of all the places in the world where you are not allowed to express yourself. Where thoughts and creativity are stifled and looked down upon, or even punished. As I said, the whole experience is dehumanising, because I believe that as humans, we are made to say what is on our minds, to be honest and open and I'm starting to realize what a wonderful gift it is to get what you're feeling on the inside out of you, to be able to share your thoughts and worries and emotions, even if it's as simple as wanting to say to your friend next to you "Man, some of those wallace and gromit cartoons were kinda dark, weren't they?" Or as complex as "I'm feeling trapped and bottled up."
On the somewhat lighter side, some hilarity has ensued. To be entirely honest, I have broken the silence on a few rare occaisions, purely by accident. I'll be thinking about something else, and someone'll ask me a harmless question, and I'll just casually reply, then smack my hand over my mouth and curl up into a tiny heap of embarrassment. Take today's physics class for exapmle:
Lorcan: *Cleaning glasses*
Sadhbh: "So, finish the questions?"
Sadhbh: "I'm sorry! It's ok, I didn't even hear what you said!"
And when nobody knew what a "Croque-Monsieur" was in french, I got to actually go up to the whiteboard and write "A toasted ham and cheese sandwich" On the board. I feel like Charley Chaplain, to some degree, trying to express emotion without speech. Someone fetch me a walking stick and a bowler's hat! Luckily, only another day to go.
Skip to :055 to get a feel for where I am right now!
4 years ago