The Silent Statement

My thoughts are often as complicated to grasp as my writing is to read. I sometimes read through some of my older posts and wonder how anyone could have gotten the point when I struggle to follow the thought process myself. I used to relate it all much more simplistically in the past. It was relatable, not just to me, but to others that it resonated with. It’s not so easy to relate anymore. I find myself slowly receding into silence again. It’s like I’ve come full circle without having completed the journey. The contradiction glares at me while I try to make sense of it all.

Silence often says more than any vocal statement we make. It’s the language of both lies and compassion. For me, it’s the language of understanding. When I’m inclined to believe that my perspective will most likely be misunderstood or unappreciated, I tend towards silence. It’s my restraint and my statement. It restrains me from verbalising much that will be found offensive, often because of the harsh truth it contains given my poor bedside manner, and it’s my statement because I choose not to engage about something that I believe will not have a meaningful outcome. That’s how I use silence to make my statement.

Unfortunately there are too many that use it for very different reasons, the most common of which is to avoid being perceived unfavourably. In those moments when the truth is needed for closure, to understand the reasons for betrayal, or to know why the good we put forward was reciprocated with dishonesty or insincerity, silence cuts sharper and deeper than any harsh truths that could have been offered. In those moments the silent one tries desperately to hide their shame while maintaining a facade of arrogance or feigned hurt. Silence, in moments like those, is employed for no reason but to save the betrayer from having to share the truth of their betrayal.

I think it gets worse when we hold the key to justice but deny the rights of the victims when we choose not to get involved because of the potential repercussions for us. At times when world powers abstain from voting or acting against rogue nations or human scum in order to retain political alliances, their silence does to the victims of those oppressors what the silence of a lover does to their no-longer-beloved. The impact is the same, it’s only the scale that differs.

Every betrayal destroys a soul, and every soul holds within it an entire world. Each betrayal forces a reinvention of that soul, and each reinvention creates a more brittle soul. Brittle is not necessarily weak. It simply becomes more unpredictable as it gets closer to its limit. Fortunately for most, that limit is significantly more than most because of the reinventions. But when it is reached, the brittle snap that ensues leaves a wake of destruction that can rarely be understood.

But there’s a more important point I wanted to make about how we use silence for selfish purposes. Perhaps my use of silence is not as noble as I’d like to believe it is. Perhaps just writing this post will provide insights that will disarm me at important moments when others will correctly interpret my silence and take the offence I was hoping to spare them instead. Perhaps there will be none of that because as we’ve seen so often, a shared sin is often overlooked because the collective guilt pacifies our conscience anyway.

I think we all use silence in this way. I think the silence we maintain at times when we should be outspoken or brutally honest reflects our priorities in that moment. If speaking out will result in an increase of clutter or responsibility beyond what we currently wish to bear, then silence becomes the obvious choice.

Another incomplete thought process. I know there is a truth in there somewhere…but like life, the essence of it eludes me.

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