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Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Silence In-Between

Sunrise at the Chikuni damSometimes in my life, I have felt like there has been so much that has gone unsaid. So much empty space that words, important words, should have existed to occupy the silence and yet they did not flow. For much of my life I was something of an introvert (and still am despite peoples protests) and I had very little to say to the world, I was too preoccupied with my own suffering and didn’t have the tools to open up and share my pain with a world that also suffers. Perhaps this is why I have always liked music, it fills this space and keeps me from thinking too much. But sometimes the distractions get in the way and I let moments go past.

With an ex-girlfriend of mine, we always had something to talk about. There were silences but never any uncomfortable silences. And yet, we never talked about the important stuff, the white elephant(s) in the corner of the room that lived with us for over a year. I was a very different person then, still a boy in a way, still that teenager unable to deal with the emotions bubbling just underneath my happy-go-lucky smile. Only sometimes, if the moment were right, would you see it in my eyes, a very sad little boy trying desperately to escape.

Then things changed, that girl and I broke up and afterwards I finally managed to find a way to start opening up. To try and fix me, if you like (actually it was more like forgiving myself). And it worked; I started opening up, I started dealing with all the confusion I had stored up over the previous 15 years and it felt fantastic to air out those skeletons. Since then, I have continued to be vigilant about saying what I feel is important or at least trying.

A quiet little girlSo it was interesting to think recently that it is often the conversation that goes unsaid that is the most fascinating thing to talk about. In particular, I am thinking of questions I have for people. When I ask a question, I am generally interested in the answer. I weigh up the importance of this question and the information contained within the answer against the possible (negative) impact on the person answering. I superimpose my psyche on the other person, add some (Catholic) guilt for flavour and then decide whether or not somebody asking me the same question would upset me. Then regardless of the answer I air on the cautious side and decide not to ask… I do of course realise that I should just let the other person decide whether or not they want to answer the question but I don’t know… asking the question will result in the person thinking about the answer and this could cause as much upset as telling me the answer. Then again, perhaps it’s important to remind people of the things that we don’t really want to think about.

This is just one of the many thoughts I’ve had the time to explore during my time here and to look back and laugh or tutt at my own inability to open up sometimes and say what needs to be said or to what I’d like to say. You may find all this boring but it’s a truth that I think applies to many people, especially the characters of “One Day” which is what I just happen to be reading at the moment (thanks cuz!!).

Your reporter in the middle of nowhere

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