I’m generally pretty comfortable with my understandings of things that matter. I don’t think for a second that I know all. I don’t think I will ever know all. But I know that I pay attention. That I’m open to learning. I don’t have a problem with being wrong because every time I am wrong I have been given the opportunity to learn and that ‘wrong’ then is moved over to add to my list of ‘rights.’ I am open to changing if it will make my life’s experience more complete, more worthy. And right now I have a pressing question.
Today – for a long time – I’ve pondered the idea of when to say something and when to hold silence and I just don’t get this one. I tend to hold my tongue more than not. And so often my silence is misinterpreted. People think I’m being judgmental. Or that I simply don’t care. I’ve been considered manipulative. And yet, when I speak up…so often I’m misinterpreted.
I’ve learned hard lessons due to speaking up. And I’ve learned hard lessons due to keeping my silence. I look around me, at the role models in my life. One of my key role models is Pollyanna. You’ve met her. She refuses to acknowledge the bad as long as she can as though, if she can refuse long enough it will settle itself. Kind of like ignoring the bad behavior of a child in the hopes that if you don’t reward it it will disappear. And I see a situation where this has caused so much confusion and harm. And then I look at another major role model, Frank. She is often criticized for saying too much. She speaks her mind and sometimes hurts people. They go away.
Maybe this whole question of to speak or not to speak is a girl thing. I don’t know. I was told as a child that if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. If someone asks you if you like their new dress, you are supposed to find something nice about the dress, even if it’s just that it covers skin, rather than come and out and say the dress is hideous. I would never want to uselessly hurt someone’s feelings. If my speaking up will hurt someone and what I say has no chance of creating a better next moment, then I will not speak up. I’m clear on that. But what about the rest of it?
If you know that your friend’s husband is cheating on her, do you speak up? If you know your boss is sleeping with the CEO’s wife, do you speak up? If you know your sister is lying to your mother, do you speak up? When do you tell all and when do you hold your silence?
I think about the women in my life. There have been several instances where they just don’t talk to each other for long periods of time. Long long periods of time. I can think of three such instances just off the top of my head. I’m not talking about being mad for a few weeks. I am not speaking here of people with problems that are spoken and still unresolved. I am not speaking of the instances where one just won’t listen and isn’t willing to open his or her heart to their own mistakes in an effort to resolve situations. I am speaking of the cut off. The unspoken. I’m talking about long, extended periods of time. I don’t understand how people can do that to each other. I don’t know what to do with the situations. Where to put them inside myself. How to find peace or do the best thing. I don’t believe the silence best serves life. I don’t know what to learn from it. I don’t understand why some people cannot just speak their hurt, or anger, or fear, or frustration, to face head on whatever is being buried. There is no way to heal or move on when the problem is buried.
On the other hand, if I talk about situations that are upsetting, or give my opinion on things, if I say what I think, then I risk becoming a gossip. Or sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. I risk hurting feelings and being mean and spreading viciousness instead of love.
I have been living with a five year silence within my family. I have tried every way I know to end that silence. I have given months of total silence. I have tried occasional contact. I have made certain that the love in my heart is spoken. I have apologized for everything I can think of that I might have done to offend or hurt. I have been patient. I have offered everything. I am blocked at every turn. It is unnatural and unhealthy and it is killing me one day at a time – more I am watching it eat away at another family member. I don’t even know why the silence exists. I have never been told. What horrible thing have I done? I’ve talked to others, or rather, they talk to me, and every single person I speak to says that the problem is with the other person. So many are being hurt. But no one speaks up. Is there any way to rectify the situation? At this point, I would give my arms and legs, literally, to make this better. What good is the body, the shell, if the life inside is not right? How do I at least get understanding? I am out of answers.
I read an article this morning about being happy in this life. It spoke about doing what matters most to you. The author states that we are all unique individuals with our own unique things to offer the world and our own unique experiences to have. The way to live our individual lives to their fullest is to listen to our inner voices – not the external voices of others – to know what matters most to us. (As opposed to living our lives the way others would have us live them.) The article stated that if we can find out what matters most to us and then make our choices so that that which matters most is our priority, then we will truly have lived. People matter most to me. Making things right with those I love is what matters most to me. It always has.
These past few months I have slighted you all with shortened and hurried blogs, making my writing my priority over all else, when, you, the people I have come to know and care about in our Storybroad community, as well as the people in my family, should have been the priority. I apologize.