Forced Silence Is Golden

26 Jun

I lost my voice this past weekend. Thursday night it was definitely going, by Friday, it was gone. At work my boss had to answer the phone and field questions to people coming up to ask me questions. I did a lot of work I’d been putting off that didn’t require talking. All weekend when I went out, I had to bring with me a note pad and pen so that I could explain my predicament. People kept asking me how this could happen. I honestly don’t really know how it happened, except that I did not feel good last weekend and had a sore throat. Somehow I felt okay throughout the week but then it turned into laryngitis. Not to mention, dust from our apartment had been gathering all over every surface because of the plumbers re-doing all of the pipes in my building. I have no idea how long some of that dust has been in the walls. Possibly for longer than I’ve been alive.

My BFFs this weekend, Throat Coat tea and honey

Several friends mentioned I should embrace the silence. At first, I laughed that off. How could someone who talks to themselves even when no one else is around enjoy having to be quiet? I admit it, I didn’t like being in silence. It feels like a loss of control. I’m quite the talker. I also like to sing songs. It really is hard when you can’t even sing a song! But being forced into silence, I realized that I say a lot of ridiculous and stupid things and do not choose my words very wisely. I’m a blurter. I blurt out whatever comes into my head sometimes and don’t worry about the consequences. This is dangerous. I realized that when you can only eek out a few syllables, you really watch what you say. When you are forced to whisper but know that whispering makes it worse anyway, your whispers are chosen very carefully. When I started to get the least little bit of my voice back, I could feel myself pushing it. I noticed I got greedy and tried to talk so much that now my voice is hurting again. What is it in me that makes me want to say so much all of the time? Am I really that important?

Several people laughed at how they liked the silent me. Others said they felt really sad because I couldn’t be a part of the conversation as I usually am. Everyone seemed to notice though. It’s hard to not notice someone scribbling furiously trying to keep up with other snippets of conversation going on around her, trying to interject different comments. A lot were lost in translation. I realized that my comedic timing doesn’t work very well on paper.

So in these few silent moments that I have left before my voice fully heals, I think I will embrace the silence. There’s something freeing about not being able to speak. Scientologists can’t grill you, as I learned last night when trying to get to a party that was near a Scientology storefront. People give you two tea bags at Starbucks instead of one because they feel sorry for you. You get better at writing fast on paper. You realize how hard it must be to be mute or deaf and it gives you a different perspective. You learn to enjoy Throat Coat tea and salt water. You can watch movies all weekend and call it “resting.” You can ignore conversations you don’t really want to engage in. You can listen better to other people and not just impatiently pretend as you wait to share your next thought. And most importantly, you can start to think about what it is you say and be able to ask yourself the question: “Is this really important?”

Just part of Friday night's conversation...used three other notepads this weekend

Words are said to either build up or destroy. I want to be more of a builder, but a lot of times I say things just to be funny so that people will like me. I want to use my words to speak the truth. To be a light. To edify. In two weeks or so, I’ll have this opportunity again, to be silent. My roommate has to go on forced voice rest so that she can try to heal the cyst on her vocal chords. I said that I’d be silent with her for a day in solidarity. I’ve now done almost three full days without a voice. Is it weird that I’m actually kind of looking forward to the vocal fast? It’s kind of nice to tell myself to be quiet. I can finally hear myself think.

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One Response to “Forced Silence Is Golden”

  1. purpleambrosia June 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Best pick up line that I totally should use the next time I lose my voice, according to a girl I know:

    Guy: What happened to your voice?
    Me: An evil sea witch stole it! The only way I can get it back is if a prince kisses me!

    And then I pucker up.

    As hilarious as this is, I don’t really think it’s going to work. And in pretty much any situation, I don’t know that I’d want it to. Still, it’s hilarious.

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