I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, lately. Despite working pretty hard to make sure I talk to people outside my household every day, messaging people constantly, and spending more time bothering my coworkers during my work-weeks than is strictly necessary, there are more hours in the day than I can fill with other people. I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up on the theme in my many blog posts, but I don’t really like spending time with myself most days. I’ve got a lot of baggage, spend a lot of time dwelling on negativity, have a tendency to get caught up in my own feelings, and am really not very nice to myself. I’m not exactly the best person to keep myself company.
I’ve always been a fan of silence. There are many different types and I love most of them. The noisy silence one finds in the deep woods or the countryside, where all the noises of city live and humanity are gone, no longer hovering just below hearing like an invisible weight dragging us down but replaced with the cacophony that is nature. The soft silence of a quiet afternoon as the fans whir and the whisper of cars on the distant highway is only interrupted by the drone of an airplane heading to the airport. The heavy silence of a moment shared between two people as they recognize the depth of what lies between them and the strength they find in each other. The quiet silence of a good book as the rest of the world fades away and all you are is subsumed by the story unfolding between the quietly rustling silence.
There are a few I don’t like, some that I find every so often that seem to make me more miserable and depressed than I truly expected. The painful silence of two in the morning that weighs down the world and all of its problems, threatening solitude and loneliness without end. The mournful silence of hotel rooms in the quiet glow of a busy city that seeps through the curtains no matter how tightly they’re closed, weeping as it tells the tales of all the lonesome nights spent staring at the textured ceiling. The yawing silence that grows between people who have no more words for each other, who can only seem to hold up what once was and is now broken while bemoaning their inability to restore it.
I like silence, despite how deeply it can sometimes cut, because it gives me a chance to reflect and let my mind wander. I spend so much time just trying to get from one day to the next that I have an awful tendency to completely ignore what is going on in my head. Unraveling that mess can be a painful or exhausting experience. Work drains me more than anything else I’ve ever done and I don’t always have a lot of energy to spare outside of it. As a result, I tend to enforce an internal silence by removing all of my external ones, filling my life with noise and life so I don’t have the ability to look inside.
When I have a less stressful day or I get to the point where ignoring my internal self is no longer an option, I will take the time to create a comfortable silence for me to reflect in. Today, that silence is whistling wind, no music, and the quiet tap of my keys (plus the annoying screech of my sticky spacebar whenever I hit it off-center). It is my first silence in a couple of weeks, almost, and I’m taking the time to reflect a little bit on all the changes in my life. I’ve been in Madison, Wisconsin for almost 3 years now and I’ve been through a lot to get here. I’ve lost contact with people and let friendships diminish. I’ve renewed contact with other people and strengthened other relationships, not to mention started entirely new ones. I’ve learned a lot about myself even if there are a lot of things I learned before that I need to be constantly reminded of.
The origin of today’s blog also lies in a silence. I hadn’t talked to a very good friend of mine in years and he messaged me out of the blue today. We started catching up and when we talked about my writing, he had a lot of positive things to say in addition to having complete faith that I’d eventually finish and publish one of my novels. It was not only nice to be speaking to my friend again (you know who you are), but it was an excellent reminder that I’ve been working toward the next major step in my life for years. I’ve been writing since high school and I’ve constantly been improving. I can write faster now and at a much higher quality than I could have ever achieved with editing. I have written at least a million words just in terms of creative writing projects. My bigger book projects alone get me well over halfway there, not to mention the hundreds of short stories, unfinished novel ideas, and practice drafts of random situations.
Silence is good. In my life, at least, it helps more than it hurts. However, there is always a time to break a silence and I think today is as good a day as any. So thank you friend, who is hopefully reading this, because you gave me the push I needed today by breaking our silence. I am not ready to be specific (sorry, I know, vaguebooking sucks), but I can promise anyone who follows me will see the results in the coming months.