Don't Ignore What The Quiet Is Trying To Tell You
When the only background noise you hear is the fan oscillating while you’re perched on the side of the bed, you’re forced to pay attention to what the not-so-absolute silence reminds you of. You miss the sound of his voice even more when he’s in a quieter season. You miss the way your grandma would rest your head on her lap, circle her finger tips in the roots of your hair and remind you of that time you had lice in the fourth grade and, also, how you would run around the apartment and lock yourself in the bathroom, just to avoid getting the knots combed out of your curls.
You miss the curls, not because you actually miss the curls, but because the curls meant some of the people you miss were still around to comment on them.
You miss walking down the aisles of Rite Aid with a mom who pretended not to notice when you bought her a really big Valentine’s Day card, that she had to pay for, when you were six.
The silence reminds you that the quiet makes you whole. It reminds you who you are, where you come from and that there are threads you’ve brought into your life that serve the role of weaving you back together when you break.
You breathe into the quiet the way I did those nights when my asthma would kick in and my mom would fasten her grip around the nebulizer’s mouthpiece with a look that made me think she was upset at me. When you’re older and you breathe into the newer generations of that same quiet, the look of anger is peeled back and you realize it was always just fear.
Fear that I wouldn’t breathe into the nebulizer. Fear that this would happen again, but worse. Fear that the quiet would stop being the thing we cherished and become the thing we feared.
It’s fear I see on his face sometimes. He burrows his eyebrows and tucks me under his chin, while he says we’re going to be fine, but fastens his grip on me just in case I stop breathing into the silence. A sturdy reminder that I shouldn’t, that my breath is needed, that my pulse sets the pace for our world.
When the only background noise you hear is the fan oscillating…you sit with words that need to be written and goals that you’ve been afraid to fill the silence with. You realize that you trust ‘forever’ more than you ever have and it scares you into wanting to let it go, but you don’t because you’ve been in hard-to-breathe situations before. They molded you. You learned to inhale into the anxiety they spark and exhale into the excitement and joy for the next moment you get to live.
You grew up making a best friend out of silence and so you never understood why everyone around you wanted to avoid it. You learned yourself best thanks to quiet. Silence made the thoughts in your head come to life and that’s where the real magic was born. It’s where you realized that you never noticed limitations because you were too busy doing. It’s where you became a feminist, a woman, a partner, a friend. It’s where you realized that the ability to take care of someone isn’t just born when you birth someone, it’s synomous with love. Silence also held your hand when you looked in the mirror and accepted that boundaries are synomous with love too and that you’re entitled to set them.
Silence is where you fell in love with him. It’s where you fell in love with yourself. It’s where, in the dark, you learned about being faithful to love. In the depths of it, you came face to face with the reality that regret isn’t born in silence, it’s given life when making noise is chosen over using words.
When the only background noise you hear is the fan oscillating while you’re perched on the side of the bed, you learn to admit that humanity and finite time scare you. That for as long as love is a verb you practice, the biggest task on your to-do list should always be to show up.
Show up with the fierceness that reminds you that you are meant to take up space. Show up with the understanding that taking up space, sometimes means sitting quietly and sometimes means making sure your words are heard.
Show up because it’s in showing up that you help others realize that your expression isn’t one of anger, it’s fear and your choice to sit in silence? It’s not a negative, you’re just trying to listen to the instructions on how you need to be loved.