In the last month, I have discovered new things about people I have known for a long time, and I’ve revealed things about myself that I’ve kept hidden for years. These revelations (some bigger than others) have made my brain buzz about the concept of truly ‘knowing’ someone. Can you truly know or understand what’s going on in other people’s lives? The short answer would be ‘No, Bob; so quit trying to be philosophical in your blog post and sort your life out.’ The long answer is ‘No, Bob; but please, do take the next 500+ words to explain why you think this.’
I am often quick to declare that people are ‘a bunch of bastards’, and that I hate the human race. Then someone I know will tell me something completely unexpected about themselves; and I have to step back and take the time to admire what they’ve lived/are living through. When I step back, I step back in silence, and I contemplate just how bad the lives of very good people can get. These silences are absolutely essential to my thought processes. I discovered some time ago that although I have extrovert qualities (I attend comedy classes, and talk a lot of bollocks on this blog), I am undoubtedly an introvert; and I need time away from things in order to process whatever it is that’s happening to me.
Sometimes however, the silence needs breaking. Someone will ask me a question I have been avoiding like the plague, and in that moment, I decide to be truthful and say ‘well, actually…’ rather than the usual ‘No, I’m fine thanks.’ I tend to break silences when someone offends me, or attempts to play on my pre-existing, and overbearing sense of guilt about absolutely everything in life. Breaking a silence is very powerful, but so is making one. Sometimes it’s the things we are not saying or documenting that end up being more powerful or important; and other times, it’s the reverse. It’s tricky to get the balance right.
Silence becomes more complicated when you throw in social media. The internet is so convenient and quick when it comes to expressing emotions; which is not always a bad thing (hence this blog post). However, a throwaway facebook status or ill-worded tweet, can make someone feel unbearably angry or humiliated. Some things don’t need to be put on the internet; but, then I suppose you could argue that this blog should remain unwritten too. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal choice; some people feel better broadcasting or venting via social media; others prefer to seethe in the silence, and then write a little ambiguous article about it in the hope that it will put the whole, ugly thing to rest.
Perhaps silence is censorship and should be avoided. Perhaps it is the coward’s way out. All I know is that I need silence more than I ever fully realised, but I look forward to cranking up the volume again when the opportunity presents itself. Ultimately, things break; people, relationships and friendships; and it’s the silence in-between that allows you to get to know yourself again; which is the only thing you can ever fully understand anyway.