Silence, for me, is always easier than speaking. It’s so much better to clam up than be misunderstood, or even worse, wrong. It’s much better to be silent than to keep talking and realize no one is listening.
There is so much safety in silence. I have written about the “eh” response and my issues with praise. I was trying to identify which it was that really scared me – people hearing my opinion and not caring, or praising me when I don’t feel like I deserve it. Truth is, they are both hard. It’s also hard to hear the negative response, deserved or undeserved.
It’s all hard, for me. Reactions to myself or my words, harsh, kind, or indifferent, are all hard.
There just doesn’t seem to be a way for me to write, period, that isn’t on some level, painful. If I write in a journal or “just for myself,” I beat up on myself for wasting time on something that is too shameful to share with anyone else, either because of the content or the quality, and I should just give up. If I write on this blog, then there’s the assumption that I think it’s worth someone else’s attention, which is arrogant. If I spend time writing a novel, that’s worse than either, because it’s a waste of time PLUS I’m a fool for thinking I could write something so long and actually get it published. I should just give up. If I try to write short stories or poetry, that’s ridiculous because I really don’t read that much of either, so how dare I try to write something I don’t read? (Come to think of it, I don’t read that many novels anymore, either.)
I should just give up.
What I’m trying to convey here, on this quiet Friday afternoon, is how incredibly good I am at stopping myself from writing. Heck, how incredibly good I am at beating myself up and stopping myself in my tracks when I try to accomplish almost anything, be it writing or any other creative or intellectual endeavor. How I use even the mental question of “why would I be so good at beating myself up?” into a cudgel to further bruise my already battered psyche: “you’ve got no excuse to be this messed up – no one ever abused you, you have parents that have always tried their hardest, how ungrateful are you?”
My first instinct – my second, third, and fourth instinct – is to stay silent, to not post, to let my fingers stay still as opposed to tapping across the keyboard. To let the weight of all my self-recrimination just wash over me and drown me, pull me down into the surf.
However, the truth is that not writing, doesn’t in the end, make it better. It may save me from the eyes of others, but it doesn’t save me from my own judgements, which are the real problem anyway.
The truth is, that, for me, staying silent is just part of the self-loathing and self-hatred that, if I let them go unchecked, result in self-destruction, both psychic and physical.
There’s a still, small voice in me that says – that has to believe – that there’s another way. There is no other way to go on living. I have to believe that I don’t have to be trapped forever. And sometimes I find the strength to keep walking forward, even through all that surf.
Whether I ever escape my own self-defeating cycles, whether this blog is entertaining or moving or anything to anybody, this post is one more handful of sand thrown in the face of silence.