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Silent Sunday, November 23rd, 2020

Enjoy the Silence...

Close up of a face from the nose to the neck.  The person has a finger against their lips and nose indicating silence.

"You mean her Nom Noms?" My husband gasped! I think I broke my silence ten minutes into my vow of silence. Darn that cat. Long exhale. I had heard someone speaking about how some dystopian novels or films exaggerate or remove something that we take for granted. I immediately thought of two books, one with which children could literally talk their parents to death and the other where humans lost speech capacity. I was curious what it would mean to not communicate via speech, so I took the plunge and tried to take a vow of silence. I should call it the vow of mostly silence. Do you know how difficult it is to laugh silently?

My family thought it was so arbitrary, and since I could not explain all the things that were going on in my head, I allowed them to think of mom being eccentric; swami mommy is my nickname at home. Everyone says silence is peaceful. Silence amplifies your thoughts. I noticed a profound change in my art expression and was unprepared for the maelstrom of feelings. Perhaps if I continued the vow for longer than a day, the silence would develop as I settled in. Communication took much longer in silence. It took about three minutes of jumping up and down and pointing and drawing on everything I remembered from charades for my husband to understand that the music that was playing was simply a pop up that I accepted. My husband also greatly enjoyed putting words in my mouth when he "translated" to my family why I was "speaking" in gifs.

I noticed that if I tried to communicate, my family did their best to understand. However, they did not initiate communication. I felt very isolated during this time. Maybe I watched too many movies and expected the time to be like Jianyu Li from "The Good Place." I would beam benevolence and become enlightened. The reality was frustration, and people not wanting to engage. I also thought I would be a better listener since I would not be able to speak. I am unsure since no one wanted to talk to me. It was also interesting that when my son was frustrated, he chose not to speak. We can't get him to be quiet unless he has something deeply personal to discuss, in which case he prefers internal unversations.

I have broken my silence, and my family is so thankful. I will say that it drove creativity in trying to overcome not having words. It did make me reflect on what I do say. Since I thought typing was cheating, it was also difficult to interact on social media. Words can provide context. Ending the vow also finally stopped the dual earworms of "Enjoy the Silence" and "Let's Get Unconscious." Sometimes it takes silence to be able to hear what your inner self is trying to tell you.