I’m currently in a state of rewind.
Today I’m under-the-weather holed up at home, and to top it off, I’ve also lost my voice.
It’s only the second time it’s ever happened to me and it somehow relieves the pressure of having to be on all the time, so I’m relishing the opportunity to sit with my thoughts.
Immediately this takes me back to my childhood. I was about ten years old when I made a pact of silence with myself: to speak only if I had something important or meaningful to say. By nature I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl, but that doesn’t always bode well in social situations (or with people who don’t know me very well).
The double bind, is that I’m either extremely private or I just spill everything.
As my sister once informed, I’d make a terrible spy.
As a kid I was told numerous times that I talked too much—not appreciated growing up in a Chinese New Zealand family where the ultimate state of being is to only speak when spoken to.
To this day, my pact of silence has contributed to a tendency towards introversion that conflicts with the real me—that being, largely outspoken.
Out of necessity, I’ve learnt over the years to pull in the reigns to avoid putting my foot right into a hole that I can’t dig my way out of.
In contrast, I struggle with complete and utter shyness that sends me into a state of near paralysis—if you’ve ever been in a room full of people but never felt more alone, then you’ll know what I mean.
Interestingly, I managed to find a career that allows me to communicate meaningfully and with purpose, and in those moments I’ve never been shy.
I couldn’t make a silent pact with myself today, although on occasion I go through periods where I have nothing to say at all. It’s important to enjoy those rare moments of silence…